Launching a broadside against Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday accused him of violating norms that make it mandatory for government employees to remain politically unbiased. Prof. Ananthamurthy, who is Chancellor of Central University, Gulbarga, has publicly expressed support for the Congress.
“Prof. Ananthamurthy is the Chancellor of Central University and is getting a salary of Rs. 1 lakh a month. Government employees are barred from campaigning or publicly supporting a political party. But Prof. Ananthamurthy has come out in the open to oppose BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and support the Congress, which is a serious violation of established norms,” the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa told presspersons here.‘Won’t demand resignation’
When asked if the BJP was demanding that Prof. Ananthamurthy resign from the post of Chancellor, Mr. Yeddyurappa said he would not make such a demand as he (Prof. Ananthamurthy) was a “stalwart”. He should take a call on whether he should quit, Mr. Yeddyurappa said.
Prof. Ananthamurthy, who preaches morality to the entire nation, should introspect, Mr. Yeddyurappa added. He said that earlier, a lecturer at Kannada University, Hampi, was suspended for helping BJP candidate B. Sriramulu examine his affidavit.
A section of prominent litterateurs, including Mr. Ananthamurthy, fellow Jnanpith Award winner Girish Karnad and K. Marulasiddappa, on Thursday declared that they would form a forum — Samakaleena Vichara Vedike — to oppose Mr. Modi on the grounds that “he is a threat to the country’s pluralistic culture” and a “dictator who suppresses moderate voices”.
Referring to that, Mr. Yeddyurappa said it did not befit the stature of Jnanpith Award winners to speak in that manner. Claiming that the BJP was set to form the government at the Centre, he said the BJP was set to win 20 Lok Sabha seats in the State and sweep all three seats in Bangalore.Apology demanded
Mr. Yeddyurappa demanded that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah apologise to farmers for his remarks attributing the death of sugarcane farmer Vittal Arabavi, who committed suicide in Belgaum, to consumption of alcohol. Terming it irresponsible, he said such remarks were an insult to farmers.
He also urged him to direct sugar factories to pay Rs. 2,500 a tonne to growers.
When his attention was drawn to the Congress projecting him as the “face of corruption”, including by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Yeddyurappa claimed: “If Rahul Gandhi takes my name, it only goes to show the kind of fear the Congress has of me.”