Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party functionaries are increasing the intensity of their attack on Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy for his critical remark against Narendra Modi, the party’s prime ministerial candidate, writers and intellectuals have come to the litterateur’s defence.
BJP’s State general secretary C.T. Ravi on Tuesday described Dr. Ananthamurthy as “parasite-like” who sways according to the political climate of the day. On Wednesday, party spokesperson Ayanur Manjunath compared the writer with Bollywood actor Poonam Pandey who declared that she would strip if the Indian team won the 2011 World Cup.
While Dr. Ananthamurthy has said that he would rather not react to such comments, the intellectual community has not taken kindly to the remarks of Mr. Manjunath.
“Statements of the BJP leaders is highly condemnable and shows the poor taste of the so-called protectors of culture,” said chairman of Cultural Policy Committee set up by the State government, Baragur Ramachandrappa, at whose book release function Dr. Ananthamurthy aired his views on Mr. Modi.
Dr. Ananthamurthy’s remarks were being quoted out of context, said Dr. Ramachandrappa. “When Dr. Ananthamurthy said in the function that he could not live in a country with Mr. Modi as the Prime Minister, he presented both Gandhian and Nehruvian models of development and secular ideals. He said that Mr. Modi did not have either a Gandhian outlook or the historical conscience of Nehru,” he said.
Noted theatre personality and writer K. Marulasiddappa said: “The BJP is twisting Dr. Ananthamurthy statement. It appears like the BJP leaders are hell bent on exterminating those who oppose communal agenda and oppose Mr. Modi.”
Writer G.K. Govinda Rao said the remarks of BJP leaders show that they were nervous and not confident of making Mr. Modi the Prime Minister. While dubbing Dr. Ananthamurthy’s remark as “sentimental and childish”, the former president of Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Chandrashekar Patil, said that people had to fight against Mr. Modi “rather than leave the battleground half way.”