Raghunath Mohapatra the eminent Odia sculptor is among the four who the president of India Ramanath Kovind on Saturday nominated to the Rajya Sabha. Thus the renowned master in stone carving became the first from Odisha to get the President’s endorsement to be into the upper house in its history of 68 years.
Sonal Mansingh the exponent of odissi dance is also among the four presidential nominates for the Rajya Sabha. Farmer leader Ram Shakal and Author Rakesh Sinha are the other two.
A release from the president’s office in this regard dated 14 July reads, “in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 80 of the Constitution of India, and on the advice of the Prime Minister, the President of India is pleased to make the following four nominations to the Rajya Sabha” and presents the name and the achievements of the selections.
Raghunath Mohapatra, as the release describes, is an internationally renowned authority on stone carving. Practicing since 1959, he has trained over 2000 students. He has contributed to the preservation of traditional sculpture and ancient monuments, and has worked on the beautification of the Sri Jagannath Temple, Puri. His famous works include a 6 feet high statue of the Sun God carved in grey sandstone, in the Central Hall of Parliament; and the Wooden Buddha, Buddha Temple, Paris.
Sri Mohapatra the Padma Vibhushan honored stone artist had contested for the Rajya Sabha seat in 2014 with the backing of BJD but lost to Congress’ Ranjib Biswal.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik has congratulated Raghunath Mohapatra and Sonal Mansingh and expressed his gratitude to President Ramnath Kovind for the nominations of the two distinguished personalities from the field of art and culture of Odisha to the Rajya Sabha.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan too has congratulated the two nominations to the Rajya Sabha as he thanked both the President Ramnath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their recognition of Odisha and respect for the contribution of these two legendary personalities.
There could not have been better news for the people of Odisha on the auspicious occasion of Rathyatra Famous sculptor and pride of Odisha Sh. Raghunath Mohapatra and world famous Odishi dancer Smt Sonal Mansingh ji are nominated to the Rajya Sabha, tweets the Union Minister.
Sonal Mansingh is among India’s foremost exponents of Indian Classical Dance. She has been performing Bharatnatyam and Odissi for over six decades. She is also a well-known choreographer, teacher, orator and social activist. She founded the Center for Indian Classical Dances, in Delhi in 1977.