Writers who returned awards are hypocrites, says Maharashtra CM Fadnavis

Mumbai: Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis has again slammed Marathi writers who returned their awards to protest against ‘growing intolerance’ in the country.

Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

So far, 9 Marathi writers have returned their awards. Fadnavis, speaking to The Hindu, claimed that such writers seem to have suspicious motives.

“In India, writers taking a stand will become as big an issue as intolerance. I think it will not be the right thing. I request them not to do it, as we are ready to return all their awards with equal honour. Several incidents, similar to those of the Dadri lynching and the Kalburgi murder, had taken place in the past. Why didn’t anyone return his awards then? It raises suspicion about their motive,” he said, criticising the returnees for blaming PM Narendra Modi for ‘growing intolerance’.

“They should create public awakening through intellectual discourse and criticism, whenever necessary. But returning awards is not a right step,” Fadnavis opined.

He later claimed the intellectuals showed hypocrisy in their behaviour. “Yes, certainly. It is exactly what we feel.”

Fadnavis offered a nuanced opinion on the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha, a far-right Hindu organisation. The Maharashtra CM said that his government ‘would go by the evidence’. A Sanstha activist has been arrested for the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare. But he admitted that the Sanatan Sanstha was a source of trouble.

“To some extent, organisations like the Sanatan Sanstha are a matter of concern for me, as a Chief Minister. They are acting smartly. They are doing things within the framework of law. The day we get enough evidence against them, we will ban the organisations. We are not scared of anyone,” he said.

Fadnavis contrasted the Hindutva of the BJP with that of the Shiv Sena, without naming the latter party. He claimed the Sena’s Hindutva was meant as a tool for electoral gains. He was answering a question whether the Sena was trying to hijack the BJP’s agenda of Hindutva. “No one can hijack any agenda like this. We believe that the nation should be built on the basis of nationalism and Indian culture or Hindu culture. Hinduism is our way of thinking: tolerant, secular and inclusive development,” he said to The Hindu.

But he rubbished the idea that there would be a split in the Sena-BJP alliance or that the Maharashtra government would collapse. “I am sure it will survive for the next five years and we will not need anyone’s support to retain power,” he said with an indirect reference to NCP. Fadnavis also said he was against any alliance with the NCP and was sure the BJP would not require the NCP’s support.

When asked about why the government had not acted on the allegations of corruption against NCP leaders Ajit Pawar, Chhagan Bhujbal and Sunil Tatkare, Fadnavis said the government would take these cases to ‘their logical conclusion’.
with PTI/DNA