New Delhi: BJP leaders Subramanian Swamy and Navjot Singh Sidhu as well as Narendra Jadhav, member of erstwhile National Advisory Council (NAC) headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, were on Friday nominated by the Modi government to Rajya Sabha.
Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi, journalist Swapan Dasgupta and boxer Mary Kom were also nominated to the Upper House of Parliament. President Pranab Mukherjee nominated the six personalities from different fields to the House of Elders following a recommendation of the Narendra Modi government, a Home Ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi.
He said a formal notification regarding their nomination to the Upper House would be issued shortly. The President recommends the names of the nominated members drawn from fields such as literature, science, sports, art and social service — on the advice of the government.
Swamy, a Harvard-educated economist, was a former Union Minister for Commerce and Law. He was also a former member of the Planning Commission. 66-year-old Swamy, a known baiter of Nehru-Gandhi family, was one of the petitioners in the 2G spectrum scam. He had joined BJP a few years ago.
Sidhu, cricketer-turned three-time Lok Sabha member of BJP from Amritsar, was given a Rajya Sabha seat apparently to stop him from joining Aaam Aadmi Party, which was reportedly planning to project him as chief ministerial candidate for Punjab Assembly polls in 2017.
The 52-year-old former cricketer had made way for Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to contest from Amritsar in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. However, Jaitley had lost the election.
62-year-old Jadhav, an economist, was a member of Sonia Gandhi-led NAC during the UPA tenure from 2010 to 2014.
Besides NAC membership, Jadhav has had held several positions. He was a member of Planning Commission from 2009 to 2014 and Vice Chancellor of the University of Pune.
He is a prolific writer in three languages - Marathi, English and Hindi - and credited with writing and editing more than 30 books.
Swapan Dasgupta is a senior journalist and has held different editorial posts at The Statesman, The Times of India and India Today besides others.
60-year-old Dasgupta, a known BJP sympathiser, was awarded with Padma Bhushan last year. He regularly appears in political debates in electronic media, mostly arguing for the Modi government.
Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi has been a known supporter of of the BJP in the last few years.
He is known as an 'action hero' in Malayalam cinema and has mostly played roles as honest and committed police officers in several movies.
33-year-old Mary Kom, who hails from Manipur, is a five-time world amateur boxing champion and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships.
She was picked to ensure representation from Northeastern states.
National award-winning actor Gopi, earlier tipped to be a BJP candidate for the assembly polls, has been roped in by the party to campaign in Kerala.
Union minister Rajeev Pratap Rudy said people of the state would be happy with the induction of Gopi.
"It is a moment of pride for the artiste of Kerala. The decision has lifted the pride of Keralities," former Union minister and senior BJP leader O Rajagopal said.