CUDDALORE: Eminent Kannada writer and Jnanpith award winner Chandrashekhara Kambara was elected as the president of Kendra Sahitya Akademi on Monday. Kambara, became the third Kannada writer to be elected to head the the premier body of litterateurs, after he brushed aside competition from Marathi writer Bhalachandra Nemade and Odiya writer Prathibha Ray.
During the election, Kambara secured 56 of the 89 votes polled by members of the general council to elect the president of the Akademi and emerged as the winner. Prathiba Ray, who was also a favourite in the run-up to the elections, secured 29 votes, and Bhalanchandra got four of all the votes polled.Though there are a total of 99 members in Akademi’s general council, only 89 cast their votes during the poll.
Kambara, is the third Kannada writer to be elected president of the Akademi, and the first in the past 25 years. The first Kannada writer to head the Akademi was Jnanpith winner Vinayak Krishna Gokak in 1983. In 1993, another eminent writer and Jnanpith winner U R Ananthmurthy was elected to head the Akademi in 1993. Kambara, prior to his elevation as president, was formerly the v ice president of theAkademi. He was also the first vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi, and has carved his own niche in Kannada literature.