Mahasweta Devi quits key post, blow for Mamata

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Mamata Banerjee
Kolkata, May 24: Noted litterateur and social activist Mahasweta Devi resigned as the chairperson of Bangla Academy on Thursday, a move which according to many, could prove to be a huge setback for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mahasweta Devi has been one of the biggest supporters of Banerjee in the run-up to the 2011 Assembly elections and openly backed a much-cherished 'paribartan' or change, after Banerjee's Trinamool Congress defeated the Left Front and formed a government. She was appointed the chairperson of the Bangla Academy by Banerjee soon after. The Magsaysay Award-winning author's resignation yet again proved the chief minister's waning popularity among the Bengali intellectual class.

The author quit her post after her recommendation of giving the prestigious Vidyasagar Award to a young author was allegedly rejected by the state government. “I proposed names of two writers who have been neglected. But yet one of them was rejected and some other person was chosen for the award. I decided to quit hence,” Devi said.

She added: “The decision was unanimous. But I don't know how one of the names vanished from the final list later. I was not intimated.”

The relation between author and the CM had soured recently after a civil rights forum, supported by Mahasweta Devi, was barred from holding a rally. Mahasweta Devi, earlier, also described the government as 'fascist', accusing it of throttling people's voice.

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