Jayashree was Sonia, Singh's choice for RS

Aiyar bucks trend of non-politicians for Upper House

Jayashree was Sonia, Singh's choice for RS

B Jayashree

Congress sources told Deccan Herald here on Saturday that the two were informed a month ago about this and soon the Union culture ministry was told to prepare a list of noted theatre artistes. The ministry consulted the National School of Drama as well as Sangeet Natak Akademi which strongly recommended the name of Jayashree, among others.

Finally, the choice fell on two artistes, one from north India and the other, Jayashree. “The two had great credentials. Perhaps that she being a woman swung the balance in Jayashree’s favour”, an informed source told Deccan Herald. Once the selection was done, Gandhi, a strong advocate of women in key areas of decision-making, spoke to Jayashree on phone and informed her about the choice of the UPA government.
Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes told this newspaper that he has been getting a number of calls expressing happiness over the choice.

Jayashree, also known for her singing talent besides acting in films, is the only woman from among the five who were nominated for the RS seat on Friday: former minister Mani Shankar Aiyar, lyricist Javed Akhtar, music exponent and former vice-chancellor of Ranchi University Ram Dayal Munda and former VC of Mumbai University and and former Planning Commission member Balchandra Mungekar.

In the Delhi political circles, the announcements came as a sudden development as there was no inkling of it. The nomination of Aiyar surprised many as the Congress high command had adopted a policy of not bringing to RS any losing member in Lok Sabha elections, that too through nomination. However, Aiyar, well-known writer, commentator and former IFS officer, bucked the trend. His nomination has led to raised eyebrows as normally politicians are not nominated to RS and nomination is reserved for people from the field of art and culture. “He has been nominated in his capacity as a well-known writer”, said an AICC general secretary.

For Munda, RS membership comes as a double gift as only in January, he was named for Padmashri award. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2007, Munda plays several traditional musical instruments including the flute, mandar, nagara and dholak besides being a singer and a song writer.

He is also an accomplished painter. Munda, considered a driving force behind the movement for a separate Jharkhand state, recently lost the Assembly polls from Tamar, which he contested on a Congress ticket.

Balchandra Mungekar, one of the India’s leading development economists was member of Planning Commission as well as Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices and founder-President of the Ambedkar Institute of Social and Economic Change. Mungekar, who now heads the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, is said to be the choice of the PM himself.

Javed Akhtar, a celebrated lyricist in Hindi and Urdu, is also a poet, film script writer and a well-known Bollywood personality. His wife and noted actor Shabana Azmi recently completed her term in Rajya Sabha.

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