Branding BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi a ‘dictator’, a group of eight writers and thinkers, including two Jnanpith award winners, on Thursday came out in the open to support the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections.
The writers came together under the banner Samakaleena Vichara Vedike to make their stand clear in a press conference here.
“Congress may be corrupt with money in their hands, but Narendra Modi is corrupt in his mind, which is more dangerous. He is nothing but a mask of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). His body language clearly shows that he is a dictator in the making,” said writer U R Ananthamurthy.
Denying that he has joined the Congress, actor and playwright Girish Karnad said Congress holds a safe future for the country. “An evil like Modi has entered the fray in Indian politics after a very long time and he has deluded other BJP members who have lost their own intelligence,” he said.
Even sitting Bangalore South MP H N Ananth Kumar was not spared by Karnad. “We want someone who can be Karnataka’s leader. But in the last 10 years, he has always looked North, which should make him ‘Uttar’ Kumar instead. Now, he has reached a level where he is seeking votes for Modi and not himself,” he said.
Ananthamurthy said Modi’s team has its own cyber army which spreads lies about others. “The RSS always does this. They did the same to Gandhi. All BJP candidates are seeking votes for Modi, so it is enough for us to speak against Modi,” he said.
Karnad explicitly said he would rather support Congress candidate for Bangalore South Nandan Nilekani. “He has given the city Infosys. In fact, I want people like N R Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw to enter politics,” he said. He backed Nilekani, C Narayanaswamy and Rizwan Arshad for the Bangalore Urban Lok Sabha seats. When asked why he is not supporting parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Karnad said: “I sympathise with the AAP, but I support Congress because I believe it is the only party now that can beat Modi.”
Ananthamurthy said he would pick Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi. “I will support anyone who does not want Modi as PM,” he said.
For Ananthamurthy, this Lok Sabha election is a philosophical fight. “We writers do not always feel like talking for every election. But this one is a question of a civilisation that has sustained for thousands of years. Like Savarkar, Modi is not religious, but he wants to build a strong nation based on Hindutva, which will make India like Japan in World War II. Such nationalism is dangerous. Modi will shut everyone up. Look at his posters...they do not even have L K Advani’s picture,” he said.
Critic K Marulasiddappa and writer S G Siddaramaiah attacked the development model being cited by Modi in his election campaign. “I do not have to explain his development model in Gujarat and name the industrialists who have benefited from it. I also won’t tell you about Gujarat’s malnourished children and the state of government schools there,” he said.