Special Correspondent

`I'm against the practice of using the Rajya Sabha to protect people rejected in elections'

Bangalore: The Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy has said that he would not have contested the elections to the Rajya Sabha had the BJP chosen as its second candidate a stalwart like the former Governor of Bihar and Jharkhand M. Rama Jois.

In a statement to the press explaining his decision to contest, Dr. Ananthamurthy said that the person whom the ruling combine has chosen (Rajiv Chandrashekar) "represents himself. What is his attraction for BJP and Janata Dal (Secular)?"

`Wrong choice'

The people of Karnataka who have been humiliated by such candidates in the past know the answer and also morally shocked by such selections.

Dr. Ananthamurthy said that he was against the practice of using the Rajya Sabha to protect people rejected in elections and "money-makers and speculators."

"As the Rajya Sabha is the Council of States, each State should elect people of the same State who can intellectually voice the aspirations of the people of the State, thus backing the work done in the Lok Sabha. This convention is being eroded."

Though he was contesting as a Kannada writer and to fight for the interests of that language, he would also fight for all the languages which were threatened in the "globalising world."

Classical tag

On his opposition to the efforts being made to get classical language status for Kannada, the litterateur said that such decisions should be left to scholars and not taken by any government.

The Union Government should consider both Kannada and Tamil, which among the Dravidian languages had more than a thousand years of continuous history each, as "ancient and living" languages.

"When most of the Indian languages are threatened in an era of globalisation, it is silly to quarrel with a sister language on false ground."

Dr. Ananthamurthy regretted that some of his fellow writers were misrepresenting him.

Instead of joining the people of Karnataka in fighting money power "they seem to have sold themselves to crooked politicians who don't have even some idealism left in them," Dr. Ananthamurthy said.

`Not an outsider'

In a statement to the press issued in Kannada, Mr. Rajiv Chandrashekar, industrialist, who has been sponsored by the two partners in the ruling coalition, deplored the attempts to portray him as an outsider.

As his father was an Air Force officer (retired as an Air Commodore) he had to move from place to place. He was born in Ahmedabad in May 1964. "But Karnataka became my karmabhoomi."

He graduated in engineering from the Manipal Institute of Technology and later went abroad for higher studies.

Mr. Chandrashekar said: "I am a resident of Bangalore and Karnataka for the last 25 years."

He had served on various committees set up by the Centre and the State Government and was a director of the Karnataka Power Corporation and the Bangalore International Airport Ltd. In 1991, he set up the BPL Mobile company.

His wife, who is from Bangalore, is connected with the BPL company which provides jobs to 16,000 people and pays Rs. 450 crores a year as taxes to the State exchequer.


Mr. Chandrashekar said he had several plans and programmes for the industrial development of the State and the country.