‘One lakh Tipu Sultans...’: Karnataka BJP MLA’s remark sparks controversy
Karnataka Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal told his supporters that even by mistake they should not cast their votes for Muslims
The controversy over Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore, refuses to die down in Karnataka with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Basangouda Patil Yatnal invoking the 18th-century ruler ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
Addressing a rally in Vijayapura, Yatnal said, “All MLAs ask me, in your constituency, there are one lakh Tipu Sultans (Muslim votes) and how you Shivaji Maharaj’s descendants will win from Bijapur,” Yatnal said in Kannada.
“Going forward in Bijapur, none of the followers of Tipu Sultan will win. Only descendants of Shivaji Majaraj will win. Yes, or no? Even by mistake you should not cast your votes for Muslims,” he added.
The debate around Tipu Sultan has taken centre stage with remarks being made about him by leaders across the political spectrum in the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state.
Earlier this month, BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel urged people to execute any fervent supporters of Tipu Sultan, and stated that his descendants ought to be driven away and consigned to the woods.
“We are devotees of Lord Rama, Lord Hanuman. We offer prayers and obeisance to Lord Hanuman, and we are not Tipu’s descendants. Let’s send Tipu’s descendants back home,” Kateel said while addressing a gathering of BJP supporters in Koppal district.
Kateel also claimed that the coming assembly election in the state was all about “Tipu versus Savarkar”. “They (Congress) allowed celebrating Tipu Jayanti which was not required, and spoke disgracefully about Savarkar,” he added.
Earlier this month, Karnataka higher education minister C N Ashwath Narayan stirred a row by telling a rally in Mandya to “finish off” Congress leader Siddaramaiah the way “Vokkaliga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda finished off Tipu Sultan”.
After backlash over his remarks, Narayan offered a clarification and said his comparison between Tipu Sultan and Siddaramaiah were casual allusions and not malicious words, “not meant to hurt anyone”. “The people of the state are well aware of Siddaramaiah’s language proficiency. I was merely alluding to the fact that the Congress should be defeated in this election. And, after all, our people of Mandya do not possess the brutal mentality of Tipu,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, the descendants of Tipu Sultan have slammed both the BJP and the Congress for using his name and trying to polarise votes ahead of the elections. “While the BJP is trying to project Tipu Sultan as a villain, the Congress is trying to project him as a hero to gain the votes of his admirers,” Sahebzada Mansoor Ali, the seventh-generation descendant of Tipu Sultan, had said.
On Sunday, the Yadgir district administration imposed prohibitionary orders in some parts of Yadagiri city amid a row over the naming of Tipu Sultan at a circle. Tension gripped the city after Tipu Sultan Samyukta Ranga put up a board at a circle that read ‘Tipu Sultan circle’, with the Shivaji Sene strongly opposing the move.
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