I would like to maintain a critical distance from such a pro-corporate position: Champa on Girish Karnad’s support to Nandan Nilekani

Well-known Kannada writer Chandrashekar Patil (Champa) has questioned the “mindset” of Jnanpith Award winners Girish Karnad and U.R. Ananthamurthy in endorsing corporate bigwigs while campaigning for the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Speaking at a seminar organised by Sadhbhavana Pratishthana here on Saturday, he, however, said that the phenomenon of writers plunging into the thick of electoral politics as street campaigners was a “welcome and important cultural and political phenomenon”, which had precedents in Karnataka since the 70’s.

However, he wondered how Mr. Karnad could describe Infosys co-founder and Congress candidate Nandan Nilekani as representing the best of Bangalore and urge other corporate bigwigs like N.R. Narayanamurthy or Kiran Mazumdar Shaw to follow his example.

“This statement has deeply disturbed me and made me wonder about the mindset and interests at play,” he said, adding that it exposed a complete lack of any “pro-people” agenda. Prof. Patil said that he would like to maintain a “critical distance” from such a pro-corporate position taken by writers who are campaigning for the Congress, while appreciating their decision to “get down to the streets.”

‘Invigoration’

He said that another important phenomenon in this Lok Sabha election was the interest and participation of the middle class in the electoral process. “However critical we may be, there is no denying the fact that the Aam Aadmi Party has invigorated a section of people who were earlier cut off from politics,” he said.

Others who spoke at the seminar included CPI leader Siddanagowda Patil, writers Banjagere Jayaprakash Ka. Vem. Sreenivasamurthy and P.V. Narayan.