Noted lyricist Javed Akhtar and former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar are among the five members nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President on Friday.
The other three nominated members include former vice-chancellor of Ranchi University and tribal music exponent Dr Ram Dayal Munda, economist and chairman of Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, Dr Bhalchandra Mungekar and Kannada actress B. Jayashree.
Aiyar’s nomination drew criticism from the BJP. “Normally those who excel in some field are nominated. The government should have thought before nominating a politician,” said party general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan.
The announcement came on a day when seven other members were elected to the Rajya Sabha from three states.
From the five seats of Punjab, Sports Minister M S Gill was among the candidates elected unopposed. Former PM I K Gujral’s son Naresh Gujral (SAD), Ashwani Kumar (Congress), former union minister S S Dhindsa (SAD) and Avinash Rai Khanna (BJP) were the others.
In Uttar Pradesh, BSP leader Naresh Agarwal was elected unopposed and will remain in the House till April 2012.
Ruling CPI(M)’s Jharna Das was elected unopposed from the lone seat of Tripura, since the opposition Congress did not put up any candidate to oppose her.