AWGP head Pranav Pandya turns down Rajya Sabha seat
Pranav Pandya, director and head of the All World Gayatri Parivar has rejected the Rajya Sabha seat he'd been nominated for 2 days back. He said he wouldn't be able to discharge his duties at AWGP if he takes up the Upper House seat. He further said that being an Upper House member was not the only way to serve the nation.
What is Rajya Sabha?
Rajya Sabha is the upper house of the Parliament of India; Indian Constitution limits the number of members in Rajya Sabha to 250. The members of Rajya Sabha are elected for a six-year-term indirectly by various state legislatures, and each state is allotted a certain number of members. The Vice President of India, who presides over the sessions, is the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Appointment of members by the President of India
According to Article 80(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, Rajya Sabha shouldn't have more than 250 members, of whom 12 are nominated by the President on the government's advice. President chooses people who have specialized knowledge in and contributed to various fields like literature, art, science, or social service. Constitution states that the country must receive services of distinguished personalities, who need not face elections.
India honors and recognizes the contributions of experts
By nominating various personalities to the upper house, the nation recognizes the merit and confers honor on those members; it also enables them to debate on various issues using their knowledge and expertise.
President approves six Rajya Sabha nominations
President Pranab Mukherjee approved a list of six nominations to the Rajya Sabha made by the Modi-led government. The nominations included Subramanian Swamy, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Narendra Jadhav, Suresh Gopi, Swapan Dasgupta, and Mary Kom. As of now, only seven out of the 12 president-nominated member seats are vacant. Home Ministry spokesperson stated that a formal notification about the nominations would be issued shortly.
Sidhu’s nomination, politically most significant
Subramanian Swamy, who joined BJP few years ago, was a Union Commerce and Law Minister, Planning Commission member, and a Harvard-educated economist. Navjot Singh Sidhu was a cricketer and three-time Lok Sabha member from Amritsar. Reportedly, Sidhu was negotiating with Aam Aadmi Party ahead of 2017 Punjab elections. It is speculated that BJP's move to nominate Sidhu was to stop him from joining AAP.
Narendra Jadhav, the well-noted economist, educationist and thought-leader
Jadhav, an economist, held several positions including Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council member, Planning Commission member, and Vice Chancellor of the University of Pune. He is also a prolific writer in Marathi, Hindi and English, editor, and a social scientist.
The not-so-political Rajya Sabha nominations
Swapan Dasgupta, a senior journalist, held editorial posts at newspapers and magazines like The Statesman, The Times of India, and The Daily Telegraph besides others. Suresh Gopi, an active BJP supporter, is a Malayalam actor and singer, who has featured in 200 films. Mary Kom, the five-time World Amateur Boxing Champion, was nominated to ensure that Northeastern states are represented in Rajya Sabha.
Mary Kom surprised by being nominated
Mary Kom, who is currently focusing on qualifying for Rio Olympics, reacted: " I was surprised. When I was told that I would be nominated for the Rajya Sabha, I started thinking what would I do as an MP."
Kashmiri-pandits don't want Anupam Kher to be nominated
Rumour has it that Bollywood actor Anupam Kher might be the seventh person to get a Rajya Sabha nomination; BJP thinks that it would ease the situation within the Kashmiri-pandit community. Kashmiri-pandits, however, didn't sound pleased with the reports; Kher's stand on nationalism and intolerance displeased majority of Kashmiri-pandits. They felt that Kher did nothing for their community and doesn't deserve a nomination.
Kher lampooned great personalities
MK Raina, the Srinagar-based theatre artist, said: "He lampooned great personalities like Krishna Sobti, who is 90 years old, a freedom fighter and stalwart in her field when they returned the award (Sahitya Academy). I was very upset; it pained me".