What Yediyurappa did was not right, says Chandrashekar Patil

Chandrashekar Patil

Chandrashekar Patil  

Pramod Mellegatti

KSP chief says he was pressured to delete names of two speakers

SHIMOGA: President of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP) Chandrashekar Patil believes that the manner in which Deputy Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa brought pressure on him to remove two persons from the list of participants in the sessions of 73rd All-India Kannada Sahitya Sammelan was not proper.

In an interview to The Hindu here, Prof. Patil, however, said he would not like to question Mr. Yediyurappa's sincerity in organising the sammelan.

"But what pained me was the pressure tactics employed to seek the removal of environmentalist Kalkuli Vittal Hegde and journalist Gauri Lankesh from the list of speakers at the seminars on the alleged ground that they are supporters of the naxalite movement," the KSP president said.

On December 14, Mr. Yediyurappa talked to him over phone and said that there would be disturbances at the sammelan if the names of Mr. Hegde and Ms. Gauri Lankesh were not dropped from the list of speakers, Prof. Patil said.

He said, "Mr. Yediyurappa even went to the extent of saying that he and D.H. Shankaramurthy and K.S. Eshwarappa (Ministers) would not participate in the sammelan if the names were not removed."

The Deputy Chief Minister also told him that he would talk to Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and get in touch with him the next day.

Failed effort

Prof. Patil said he tried to convince Mr. Yediyurappa that he was helpless in the matter as it was the executive committee of the KSP which finalised the list of participants in the seminars, and "when he (Mr. Yediyurappa) persisted with his demand I disconnected the phone call."

Freedom of speech

Prof. Patil maintained that Mr. Hegde and Ms. Gauri Lankesh could not have been prevented from participating in the seminars as it would have amounted to denial of freedom of expression.

Asked whether the action of Mr. Yediyurappa was an attempt to curtail their freedom of expression, Prof. Patil replied in the affirmative.

He said, "I am inclined to believe that what Mr. Yediyurappa did was unconstitutional."

While asserting that the KSP (which organised the sammelan) would not tolerate imposition of any political agenda on it, Prof. Patil clarified that there was no interference by the Government while releasing grant to it for the sammelan.

Ideological debate

Prof. Patil said ideological discussion on burning issues was a new and healthy trend noticed at the seminars of the sammelan.

"The outcome of the sammelan seems to have initiated the process of giving a new political orientation to the people's struggle on the basis of the sentiments expressed in it."

He said it was wrong to think that Kannadigas were not proud of their land and language.

"However, what needs to be done is the use of the tremendous `Jana Shakti' for protection of their rights and claims," he said adding that as national parties had failed to anything in this regard there was scope for the projection of a regional party within a sound ideological framework for the espousal of the interests of Kannada and Karnataka.

"If it is possible in Tamil Nadu where a regional party has come to be known to protecting the rights of its people why should it not happen in Karnataka?"

He said if the regional outfits had failed to achieve their goals so far it was because of their haste to enter electoral politics without proper preparation.

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