Pune: A prestigious annual literary meet in Maharashtra has assumed political overtones with the ruling BJP taking objection to the sammelan's newly-elected president and writer Sripal Sabnis' comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The chief state BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari today criticised Sabnis, saying his comments on Modi were in bad taste and has lowered the dignity of the forthcoming 89th All India Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, of which he is the elected president.
In his controversial remarks made recently during his speech at a college near Pune, the writer had derided Modi's recent surprise meeting with his counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Lahore saying "a bullet could have hit him from any direction or a bomb exploded and we would have required to hold a condolence meeting for Modi instead of poet Mangesh Padgaonkar (who died recently)."
"No one should make such a statement about PM to seek publicity. While we accept political comments being made from a literary stage, this thoughtless and uncivil remark by Sabnis has lowered the dignity of the post of the Sammelan president," Bhandari told reporters here.
The BJP local unit at Pimpri near here, the venue of the proposed three-day literary event starting January 15, also organised a protest led by MP Amar Sable, in which an effigy of the writer was paraded on a donkey.
Sabnis, after his election as president of the Sammelan, had supported the "Award Vapsi" movement by writers against the Modi government on the issue of "growing intolerance".
The Marathi literary meet is going to take place in Pimpri-Chinchwad near Pune from January 15.