KOZHIKODE: Poet Satchidanandan, director of Kerala Literary Festival, and Mr Alphons Kannanthanam, union minister of state for tourism, locked horns on Friday over the organisers keeping out right wing writers and BJP leaders from the festival venues. What irritated the BJP leadership was the statement of Satchidanandan the other day that there will not be any space for militant right wing activists in the discussion forums organized in connection with the festival, as they are against democracy and constitution.
He had also voiced concern over giving space to such elements even in television programmes. The BJP district unit had also expressed protest to Mr Kannanthanam over sanctioning funds for the festival from the tourism ministry, alleging that the festival had become a space for anti-national and pro-Left forces. Writers like Arundhati Roy and actor Prakash Raj had used the venue to attack the NDA regime.
Mr Kannanthanam said that such venues should be for exchange of ideas. "They should not be monopolised by any particular group and should not be converted into anti-national forums," he said and added that he had heard that some people had spoken against the country at the venue. However, later Satchidanandan said that they were not discussing any particular ideology. "The festival venues discuss all shades of literature and terming all the writers as 'left' is improper," he added.