Navjot Sidhu among 6 nominated to Rajya Sabha

  • HTC & Agencies, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2016 21:00 IST
Sidhu was offered the seat after the BJP leadership feared he might join the Aam Aadmi Party as their chief minister candidate in Punjab (HT photo)

Cricketer-turned politician and former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy as well as Narendra Jadhav, member of the 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.

HT had on Friday reported that these names would be chosen.

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 here.

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.

Sidhu, cricketer-turned three-time Lok Sabha member of BJP from Amritsar, was given a Rajya Sabha seat apparently to stop him from joining AAP which was reportedly planning to project him as chief ministerial candidate for Punjab assembly polls in 2017.

Read more: RS seat will keep my husband away from Punjab: Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu

Swamy, a Harvard-educated economist, was a former union minister for commerce and law and is a known baiter of the Nehru-Gandhi family. He was one of the petitioners in the 2G spectrum scam that marked the decline of the Congress-led UPA, and is also a known critic of finance minister Arun Jaitley.

Suresh Gopi, a Malayalam action hero, has been warming up to the BJP since 2013, when the actor had met Narendra Modi, the then BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Though the BJP offered him a ticket in the upcoming Kerala elections, he had refused to take the plunge. He is one of the star campaigners of the BJP in Kerala. The Kerala unit of the BJP is hopeful that the party will make its debut in this election.

Swapan Dasgupta has been a leading defender of the BJP in television debates for close to a decade. Considered close to Jaitley, Dasgupta’s name has been doing rounds for several sensitive postings since the BJP-led government took over at the Centre in 2014.

Boxing champion Mary Kom, hailing from north-east, is nominated keeping in view representation from eastern states as well as her pan-India popularity after actress Priyanka Chopra played Kom in a 2014 biopic, sources said.

Narendra Jadhav, a noted economist, was member of Congress president Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council in the previous regime. An authority on BR Ambedkar, he has developed an independent rapport with Modi, leading to his nomination, sources said.

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