The State unit of the BJP on Monday filed a complaint with the Election Commission seeking the removal of U.R. Ananthamurthy as Chancellor of the Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga, and initiate legal action against him for allegedly violating the poll code by campaigning for a political party despite being a government employee.
A delegation of BJP leaders, led by State co-spokesperson and actor Malavika Avinash, that filed the complaint, alleged that indulging in poll campaign in favour of a political party was not only misuse of the office of the Chancellor, but also a clear violation of model code of conduct. It also accused the writer of “trying to defame a person, party and religion.”
A section of litterateurs, including Dr. Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, and K. Marulasiddappa, had recently declared that they would form a forum called Samakaleena Vichara Vedike to oppose BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on the grounds that he was a “threat to the country’s pluralistic culture.” Describing him as a “dictator who suppresses moderate voices,” they vowed to support the Congress as an alternative.
Such a public attack on its prime ministerial candidate just before the elections angered the BJP which launched a counter-attack at these writers, accusing them, particularly Dr. Ananthamurthy, of speaking like spokespersons of the Congress.
In the complaint, the BJP alleged that Dr. Ananthamurthy was trying to defame Mr. Modi by describing him as a communal person who was trying to divide the country in the name of Hindutva. The petition also recalled Dr. Ananthamurthy’s remark that “I do not want to live in the country if Mr. Modi becomes Prime Minister.”
Taking exception to this, the BJP said the fact that he had been elected as Chief Minister of a big State like Gujarat for the three consecutive terms showed that he had the support of people from all communities. It was not proper to describe him as a communal person, it said.