Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday advised fellow politicians not to interfere in "other fields" at the valedictory function of the annual Marathi literary meet at Yavatmal in the wake of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) opposing invitation to writer Nayantara Sahgal.
Without making a direct reference to the row, Gadkari said, "Politicians should learn not to interfere in other fields. The people who are in universities, educational institutions, literature and poetry, they should be dealing with their (respective) areas.
"When I say there should not be any interference, it does not mean there should not be any contact between the people from the field of literature and politicians," he added.
"During the Emergency, speeches of (Marathi) writers like Durga Bhagwat and P L Deshpande drew bigger crowds than political rallies. Both of them, however, returned to literature after elections. They did not even seek political posting such as Rajya Sabha membership," Gadkari noted.
While Bhagwat had criticised the Emergency openly, Deshpande campaigned for the Janata Party after the Emergency was lifted and elections were announced in 1977.
"There should be cooperation, coordination and communication between writers and politicians. The lack of communication leads to miscommunication and then arguments," Gadkari said.
"We should only respect the person who is expressing opposite views," said the minister.
Sahgal, a noted Indian English writer who was in the forefront of `Award-wapasi' campaign some years ago, had been invited to inaugurate the 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan which started at Yavatmal on January 11.
(With inputs from PTI)