Threatens to disrupt Sahitya Sammelan, if Modi’s criticism continues
Republican Party of India’s President, Ramdas Athawale has threatened to disrupt the forthcoming annual Marathi Sahitya Sammelan on behalf of the BJP. Athawale had said that he won’t tolerate the insulting statement made by Dr Shripal Sabnis president of Marathi literature conference ‘Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan’ against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier the BJP too had criticised Sabnis for his critical statements made against Modi. Dr. Sabnis had stated that the country would have to pay homage to Mr. Modi if he had been attacked in Pakistan.
Ironically, the same Mr. Athawale had disrupted the sammelan in Ahmednagar 20 years ago to condemn Bal Thackeray’s utterances against P.L. Deshpande and other writers. Since Athawale is a part of the BJP government there has been a shift in his stance against them. He had also condemned the Godhra and Gujarat riot incidents. According to Athawale, there is no point in discussing about past incidents as Modi is following the development agenda.
Athawale said, “RPI supports the stand taken by BJP against Sabnis. If Dr. Sabnis indulges in any ‘rants’ against Mr. Modi, then RPI activists will not flinch from disrupting the biggest literary event in the Marathi language.”
“It is grossly unfair to pin the blame of the Gujarat riots on the Prime Minister who respects every religion in this country. Even though the 2002 Gujarat riots was a “black chapter in India’s democracy”, Prime Minister Modi was a man with “strong secular moorings,” he added.
Earlier, Mr. Sabnis had courted controversy by calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi by his name, evoking his past and referring to his “bravery” during his recent surprise visit to Pakistan. He compared Modi’s stint as Gujarat chief minister and as the PM when he delivered a lecture at a students’ literary meet in Pimpri near Pune.
“Modi is roaming around the world citing Gandhi and Buddha. He has made an alliance of 34 countries against the terrorism of Islamic State. Isn’t such a person a nationalist?” Dr. Sabnis said.
Further commenting on Modi’s Pakistan visit, he said, “The RSS pracharak went to Pakistan on Mr. Sharif’s birthday. It was a sign of invited death. Anything could have taken place there. It is the place of Hafeez Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim. Any bullet or bomb would have eliminated Mr Modi in one day and we would have paid homage to Mr. Modi before we did to (poet) Mangesh Padgaonkar,” Mr. Sabnis had said.