The political controversy over the Raipur Literature Festival took a new turn on Monday as the Congress urged the participant writers to boycott the event, organised by Chhattisgarh’s Public Relations Department from December 12-14.
The Congress argued that the festival should be boycotted as the state “is still in mourning” following the recent deaths of women after failed sterilizations in Bilaspur, killings of CRPF men in Sukma and the worsening condition of paddy farmer due to the cap on procurement.
“We called several writers including Ashok Vajpeyi, Purushottam Agrawal, Jaishankar and Jaya Jadwani and apprised them about the situation here. Even terahvins of CRPF jawans have not taken place. It is not the appropriate time to organize it,” PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel said in a statement.
The government has already cancelled the performances by Kailash Kher and Indian Ocean that were scheduled in evenings after literary sessions.
Director (PR) Rajat Kumar, however, said: “The planning of this festival is going on for several months. We understand that the state has witnessed some unfortunate incidents recently, and have already cancelled some performances. It is unwarranted to cancel literary dialogues, which only give an opportunity to discuss crucial issues.”
The Congress has also complained to the Election Commission that the government is spending crores to promote itself when the model code of conduct has been enforced for the upcoming municipal elections. “In the garb of literature, the BJP is doing its election canvassing,” Baghel added.
While Congress claimed that these writers have promised a “review” of their decision to participating in the event, some of these writers told The Indian Express that they would not boycott it as “literature does not amount to entertainment.”