‘Congress dispensation setting a bad precedent’

The Congress government’s move to seek resignations of chairpersons of all academies and authorities has led to a debate on whether a political change in government should necessarily mean a change in the chair of all cultural organisations.

Chairpersons of the Nataka Academy, the Konkani Academy, the Kuvempu Bhasha Bharathi Authority Malathi Sudheer, Kasargodu Chinna and Pradhan Gurudutt, respectively, have submitted their resignations.

The term of Siddalingaiah, chairperson of the Pustaka Pradhikara (Karnataka Book Authority), ended on June 12.

Mukhyamantri Chandru, chairperson of the Kannada Development Authority, has been exempted as his appointment is under the provisions of a specific law and his term ends in August 2015.

Chairpersons of Lalitha Kala Academy, Sangeetha Nrithya Academy, Karnataka Janapada Academy and Karnataka Yakshagana Academy, C.S. Krishna Shetty, Vyjayanthi Kashi, Banandur Kempaiah and M.L. Samaga, respectively, have sought time from Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, Basavaraj, for taking a decision on submitting their resignations.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Krishna Shetty said that besides seeking time to take a decision, they have sought an explanation from the government on the rationale behind asking them to quit. “It is an unprecedented move,” he said. Citing the examples of poet G.S. Shivarudrappa and critic Giraddi Govindaraja, who had refused to resign when a similar demand was made in the past, Mr. Krishna Shetty said: “The Congress government is creating a bad precedent.”

An equally upset Vyjayanthi Kashi said that in the history of cultural academies, the post of chairpersons had not been touched. Most of these chairpersons had not aspired for the post, but it was the government which appointed them for their contribution to their field. “Parties would change but not the government,” she argued.

There was some logic in seeking the resignations of boards and corporations, but asking chairpersons of academies to resign did not auger well, she said. “I personally consider the government’s move as an insult to the field of art,” she said.

The former chairman of Kannada Development Authority Baraguru Ramachandrappa noted that for the first time a government had sought en masse resignations of chairpersons of academies and authorities. The government might have sought their resignations in view of the allegations that the previous BJP government had tried to “saffronise” the cultural arena by appointing sympathisers of the Sangh Parivar, he said.

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