The Modi government has nominated four noted personalities from South - athlete P T Usha (Kerala), legendary music composer Ilaiyaraaja(a Dalit from Tamil Nadu), screenwriter-director K V Vijayendra Prasad (Andhra/Telangana) and Jain priest Veerendra Heggade (Karnataka) – to Rajya Sabha. The naming of the four was seen as yet another instance of the Modi government making use of selections and nominations to send out political messages.
Government sources said, “Rajya Sabha nominations show yet another instance of the Modi government recognising outstanding Indians who have made a mark in diverse fields. The choice of personalities with illustrious careers in their respective fields and having achieved national and global recognition for their contributions is in keeping with the spirit of the scheme to recognise excellence by nominating them to the Upper House.”
The decision came days after the BJP held its national executive meeting in Hyderabad, in what was seen as a move to supplement the party’s vigorous campaign to challenge Telangana CM K C Rao.
PM Modi tweeted, “the remarkable PT Usha ji is an inspiration for every Indian. Her accomplishments in sports are widely known but equally commendable is her work to mentor budding athletes over the last several years”. He also praised llaiyaraaja by saying his creative genius has enthralled people across generations. On Heggade's contributions, the PM said, "I have had the opportunity to pray at the Dharmasthala Temple and was also witness to the great work he is doing in health, education and culture. He will certainly enrich parliamentary proceedings." Modi emphasised Vijayendra Prasad has been associated with the "creative world for decades and his works showcase India's glorious culture and have made a mark globally". There were seven vacancies of nominated members in the Upper House and it is expected to be filled in coming days.