'Was president a fool to praise Tipu?' asks DKS

'Was president a fool to praise Tipu?' asks DKS

Karnataka Irrigation Minister D K Shivakumar dared the BJP to get President Ram Nath Kovind to withdraw his praise for the 18th century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan, whose birth anniversary was celebrated here under heavy police protection on Saturday across the state.

Tipu Jayanti, which the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government started in 2015, was held at the banquet hall, Vidhana Soudha.

CM, DyCM absent

Both Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara were absent. Also, no leader from the JD(S), the Congress’ coalition partner, attended the event. The event was held amidst stiff opposition from the BJP and with prohibitory orders clamped in parts of the state.

In his address, Shivakumar referred to Kovind’s address to the joint session of the Karnataka legislature, to mark the diamond jubilee of the Vidhana Soudha in October 2017, in which he hailed Tipu Sultan as a hero.

President's praise

“He (President) came, showered praise 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 jayanti,” Shivakumar said.

Kovind’s address had caused a major embarrassment to the BJP. “Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by the Europeans,” Kovind had said.

Cong vote bank

The Tipu Jayanti celebrations, which began in 2015 under the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, has been marked by protests every year.

While the event was underway, the BJP tweeted a November 2017 video of Kumaraswamy’s news conference, in which he was critical of Tipu Jayanti.

“It’s an insult to celebrate Tipu jayanti by imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144. This is just the Congress trying to create a vote bank,” Kumaraswamy had said.

Conspicuous by absence

Officially, Kumaraswamy did not attend the event owing to poor health. Apparently, doctors had advised him rest till November 11. However, news of him skipping the Tipu Jayanti, led to speculation that he was not keen on attending an event he had opposed in the past.

On the other hand, Parameshwara had to go to Singapore to visit ailing former minister C Chennigappa. Many special invitees to the event did not show up, including Legislative Council chairperson Basavaraj Horatti of the JD(S), Housing Minister U T Khader, former minister Tanveer Sait, MLC C M Ibrahim, former union ministers C K Jaffer Sharief and K Rehman Khan.

“Should Muslims seek permission of the BJP to celebrate Tipu Jayanti when there’s a Congress-JD(S) coalition in power? A time will come when Tipu Jayanti will be celebrated in Delhi,” former minister R Roshan Baig said in his address.

The audience at the Tipu Jayanti event comprised mostly of Minority Welfare Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan’s followers. “Why did BJP leaders B S Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shettar and R Ashoka celebrate Tipu Sultan in the past? Why are they opposing now? Tipu Sultan will continue to be celebrated irrespective of the opposition. I request the BJP not to spoil communal harmony,” Khan said.