Bollywood lyricist-scriptwriter Javed Akhtar who was to attend the annual Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday gave it a miss.

The 69-year-old lyricist was scheduled to participate in a session titled “Urdu Mein Hindustan” in conversation with popular Hindi poet Ashok Vajpayi.

In Mr. Akhtar’s absence, the session was taken over by lyricist Prasoon Joshi and singer Vidya Shah.

Mr. Akhtar, has been a regular visitor at the recent editions of the festival. During last year a quarrel over religion also broke out between Mr. Akhtar and writer Kancha Illaiah.

Festival organisers were unable to confirm whether Mr. Akhtar would participate in a session titled “Khalnayak” in conversation with Kishwar Desai scheduled for Monday.

Journalist Barkha Dutt, who was slated to take part in a session titled “Dispensable Nation: Afghanistan after the US withdrawal” also did not attend on Sunday.

The session featured Barnett Rubin, Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Mark Mazetti, journalist Ben Anderson and Festival Director William Dalrymple.

“Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington was also slated to be part of this session, but he had to fly back because of a death in his family,” Mr. Dalrymple said.

Ms. Barkha is also slated to be in conversation with award winning journalist and filmmaker, Adrian Levy on Monday.

Union Minister Shashi Tharoor also skipped the annual five-day festival, which concludes on Monday due to his wife’s death.