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HomePoliticsRS nominees Ilaiyaraaja, P.T. Usha, Vijayendra Prasad & Heggade part of BJP's...

RS nominees Ilaiyaraaja, P.T. Usha, Vijayendra Prasad & Heggade part of BJP’s ‘mission south’

Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja, athlete P.T. Usha, screenwriter V. Vijayendra Prasad & philanthropist Veerendra Heggade will represent Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Karnataka in Rajya Sabha.

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New Delhi: Amid the BJP’s renewed push to expand its footprint in southern India, the BJP-led government at the Centre nominated music maestro Ilaiyaraaja, celebrated athlete P.T. Usha, screenwriter V. Vijayendra Prasad and philanthropist Veerendra Heggade to the Raja Sabha Wednesday.

The four will represent the four southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, respectively. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated all the four for their nomination to the upper house of the Parliament.

Prasad, who is from Andhra Pradesh, is a prominent Telugu screenwriter and the father of S.S. Rajamouli, known for directing the blockbuster Baahubali films. He has worked in both the Telugu and Hindi film industries and his notable works include RRR, the Baahubali franchisee and the Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Heggade is the administrative head of the Dharmasthala temple, located in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, and has led many initiatives for rural development and promotion of self-employment.

“Shri Veerendra Heggade Ji is at the forefront of outstanding community service. I have had the opportunity to pray at the Dharmasthala Temple and also witness the great work he is doing in health, education and culture. He will certainly enrich Parliamentary proceedings,” tweeted PM Modi.

On P.T. Usha, he wrote: “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. Congratulations to her on being nominated to the Rajya Sabha.”

Modi also shared pictures of himself with P.T. Usha and Heggade.

“The Rajya Sabha nominations show yet another instance of the Modi government recognising outstanding Indians who have made a mark in diverse fields. The four nominated representatives represent various South Indian states and expand the region’s representation in the Rajya Sabha,” said a government source.

The source further added that the four nominated members include a woman, a Dalit (Ilaiyaraaja), and a members of a religious minority (Jain community) (Heggade).

The President of India nominates 12 members from among people with special knowledge or practical experience in the fields of literature, science, art and social service, to the Rajya Sabha for a period of six years, on the advice of the Prime Minister.

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Mission South

The nomination of the four also fits in perfectly in the BJP’s ‘Mission South’. Among the southern Indian states, the BJP has so far only led a government only in Karnataka. However, it has been making inroads in Telangana, as proved by its performance in the 2020 bypolls and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections the same year.

Eyeing Telangana, the party held its high-powered national executive in Hyderabad earlier this month, which was attended by the top BJP leadership including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers of BJP-led states.

According to sources in the party, the PM had also directed the BJP to reach out to non-Hindus during the executive, asking party leaders from northeastern states to visit Kerala to “highlight the party’s efforts to protect the interests of the Christian community”.

Speaking at the BJP’s national executive meeting in Hyderabad Sunday, Modi stressed that a number of BJP leaders and functionaries in the northeast hail from the Christian community and said that they should hold programmes in the southern state of Kerala.

One of the reasons cited by BJP leaders for the emphasis on Kerala is that it is one of the states where the party’s efforts to make inroads are yet to succeed.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Bengal has many Kalis, but TMC can’t accommodate them anymore. UP, Haryana is in the way


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