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Sangh Parivar nominee upsets C Radhakrishnan

New Delhi: Amid high drama, elections were held in the country’s top literary body Sahitya Akademi between an official panel and another one comprising writers favouring the Sangh Parivar, on Saturday.

While Madhav Kaushik of the official panel was elected as the president, noted writer from Kerala C Radhakrishnan lost to Sangh Parivar nominee Prof Kumud Sharma in the election for the vice-president’s post.

Kumud Sharma, a Hindi writer and a faculty at Delhi University, defeated Radhakrishnan by a margin of a single vote.

Meanwhile, Hindi author Madhav Kaushik secured a big win over the Sangh Parivar candidate Mallepuram G Venkatesh, who is a former vice-chancellor of the Karnataka Sanskrit University. Also a founder of the Samvit Research Foundation, Venkatesh has won the Kannada Sahitya Akademi Award twice.

Reacting to his defeat, Radhakrishnan said, “I don’t allege that politics was involved in the election. I have contested only one election in my life. It was a tough fight, but I lost.”

Radhakrishnan lost the election due to the majority enjoyed by writers belonging to Hindi-speaking regions of the country among the Akademi’s voting members, said observers.

Elections took place to the 24-member executive and 92 Akademi members had voting rights.

Before the elections were announced, an agreement had been reached under which Madhav Kaushik, who was the vice president, would take over as president when Chandrashekhara Kambar, who held the top post, completed the term. Under this arrangement, Radhakrishnan was supposed to occupy the post of vice-president as the representative from south India.

However, a group of writers supported by the Sangh Parivar filed nominations at the last minute to the posts of president, vice-president and executive council, leading to the elections.

Sangh Parivar denotes the broad grouping of Hindu nationalist organisations.