Karnataka government turns Tipu fete into a fiasco

Instead of Parameshwara, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar flagged off the event. (DH Photo)

In a major embarrassment to the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara had to skip the Tipu Jayanti celebration on Saturday because of confusion over the event’s timing.

This added to the blushes caused by Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy staying away from the event “on the advice of doctors” and not a single leader from the JD(S), the Congress coalition partner, turning up at the banquet hall of the Vidhana Soudha. The venue was turned into a fortress under heavy police protection. Also, several Congress leaders whose names were on the invitation did not turn up.

Parameshwara was to inaugurate the celebration. “Parameshwara called me up late Friday night and expressed shock that the event was scheduled at 11.30 am. He thought the event was at 6.30 pm,” Minority Welfare Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan said at the event, requesting the audience not to “misunderstand” Parameshwara’s absence. Believing that the event was in the evening, Khan said Parameshwara booked tickets to fly to Singapore to visit an ailing former minister C Chennigappa.

Instead of Parameshwara, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar flagged off the event.  Khan later told reporters that even he was unaware that the event was scheduled at 11.30 am. “I got to know only after I got a copy of the invitation. But till Friday night, I kept saying that the event will be held at the banquet hall of Vidhana Soudha at 6.30 pm and that’s what I told Parameshwara also,” he said.

Contrary to Khan’s claim, the invitation for Tipu Jayanti was sent out by the Department of Information and Public Relations on Thursday night, stating clearly that the event was at 11.30 am on Saturday.

The Tipu Jayanti celebration, which began in 2015 under the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, has been marked by protests every year. On Saturday, BJP leaders staged protests at Madikeri and Mangaluru. The BJP also shared a November 2017 video of Kumaraswamy’s news conference, in which he chides the Congress for using Tipu Jayanti for “vote bank politics”.

Legislative Council chairperson Basavaraj Horatti of the JD(S) as well as Congress leaders including Housing Minister U T Khader, former minister Tanveer Sait, MLC C M Ibrahim, former Union ministers C K Jaffer Sharief and K Rehman Khan — all invitees to the event — did not show up.

Shivakumar’s question

Speaking at the event, Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar referred to President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint session of the Karnataka legislature to mark the diamond jubilee of Vidhana Soudha in October 2017, in which he hailed Tipu Sultan as a hero.

“He (President) came, showered praises on Tipu Sultan and left. Was he a fool to do that? Was he a fool to simply read out the speech? Let the BJP tell the President of India to withdraw his speech. Or, let them tell the Centre to issue a diktat against celebrating Tipu Sultan,” Shivakumar said.

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Karnataka government turns Tipu fete into a fiasco

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