Political slugfest over writers goes on

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Bangalore: The war of words between the Congress and the BJP over some writers’ supporting the former refuses to die down. Arguments for and against writers taking a political stand continued on Sunday too.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah sought to know whether citizens conferred with Jnanapith award lose their constitutional rights.

“The BJP expects writers to keep their mouth shut. Is there any rule which deprives freedom of expression to writers? Or is it that people are stripped of their freedom of expression once they are honoured with Jnanapith award?” Siddaramaiah said at a media interaction in Gulbarga.

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The chief minister said that writers such as S L Bhyrappa and Chidanandamurthy support the BJP and they were at liberty to do so.

Similarly, it is quite natural to seek support from religious leaders and they have the freedom to back a particular political party or remain neutral. The BJP should shun its fascist stance and learn to respect people, Siddaramaiah said.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who has been more vocal against writers supporting theCongress, said that Jnanapith awardee Prof U R Ananthamurthy had been expressing his “indebtedness” to the Congress.

Speaking to reporters in Dharwad, Shettar said that the Congress-led UPA government had appointed Ananthamurthy as the chancellor for the Central University in Gulbarga and hence he had been supporting the party. He called Ananthamurthy a “Congress-promoted” writer.

Former minister and BJP spokesperson, Suresh Kumarspeaking at an advocates’ meet in Bagalkot suggested Ananthamurthy to quit as chancellor of the Central University before campaigning for the Congress.

Addressing presspersons in Davangere, State BJP unit president Pralhad Joshi said that he would file a complaint with the Election Commission of India on some writers campaiging for a political party despite holding positions in government-run establishments.

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