Smriti Irani left red-faced after Alliance Francaise issues clarification on Pondy Lit Fest


Alliance Francaise on Wednesday issued a press release making it abundantly clear that Alliance Francaise de Pondicherry had violated the parent body’s charter in associating its name with the right-wing organisers of the upcoming Pondy Lit Fest.

The lit fest, scheduled to start from 17 August, is expected to be inaugurated by Union Minister Smriti Irani. Among the notable guests are Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister Narayanasamy.

The event came under immense criticism after the organisers only invited the supporters of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the fest. Some of the right-wing guests are Aravind Neelakanthan, the co-author of Breaking India, chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the PM, Bibek Debroy, Swarajya editor R Jagannathan, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri and his wife Pallavi Joshi, who trended this week for coming to the defence of Modi and his government through a controversial video.

Alliance Francaise, in its statement, said, “Having learnt about the organization of the event “The Pondy lit Fest 2018″ and of the criticisms and polemics that the aforesaid event has given rise to in the press and on social media, the Alliance Francaise Foundation, to which the Alliance Francaise de Pondicherry is bound, would like to remind that the statutes of the Alliances Francaises worldwide as well as the charter that the president of the Alliance Francaise de Pondicherry has himself signed very clearly stipulate that the Alliances Francaises must abstain from undertaking any initiative of a political or sectarian nature.”

It went on to add, “The Alliance Française Fondation regrets that the event “The Pondy Lit Fest 2018″ is being announced as organized in partnership with the Alliance Française de Pondichéry, without any relation with the objectives of the Institution.”

The organisers of Pondy Lit Fest had originally claimed that their event was being held jointly by Indologue Events and Ideas and Alliance Francaise at different venues including Maison Colombani, Coramandel Cafe, Alliance Francaise and Aurobindo Society.

The terse response by the Alliance Francaise will cause considerable embarrassment to the organisers particularly because they’ve termed the event as sectarian nature.