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Tipu Jayanti row: From Siddaramiah to Amit Shah, who said what in this war of words

Siddaramaiah-led Congress government is celebrating the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan on November 10, amid staunch opposition from the BJP-RSS.

india Updated: Nov 10, 2017 13:22 IST
Tipu Sultan,Tipu Jayanti,Tipu Sultan history
Tipu Sultan, the former ruler of Mysore, evokes intense admiration and hate in equal measure. (PTI)

Security cover was strengthened across Bengaluru on the occassion of the contested ‘Tipu Jayanti’ on Friday, the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler of the Mysore Kingdom.

Tipu Sultan, the former ruler of Mysore, evokes intense admiration and hate in equal measure. He is hailed as a freedom fighter for fighting the British, but his critics — the BJP and the Sangh Parivar — say he killed Hindus and Christians for during his expansion into the region in the late 1700’s.

The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government started celebrating Tipu Jayanti two years ago, which has been opoosed by the BJP. The event has been held under tight security after violence erupted in Kodagu district in 2015.

From Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah to Union minister of state Ananth Kumar Hegde, here’s a look at the Congress-BJP war of words on Tipu Jayanti:

Ananth Kumar Hegde, Union minister of state for skill development

Hegde was at the forefront of the chorus of voices against Tipu Jayanti. His October 20 letter to the Karnataka chief minister’s Secretariat and Uttara Kannada DC, asking them not to include his name on the list of invitees for the Tipu Jayanti celebrations started the war of words.

Hegde tweeted out the letter, calling Tipu a “brutal killer” and a “mass rapist”.

Siddaramiah, Karnataka chief minister

The Karnataka CM reacted sharply to Hegde’s letter, saying he was trying to politicise the issue. “As part of the government, he shouldn’t have written it,” Siddaramaiah told ANI. “It is being made into a political issue. There were four wars against British and Tipu fought them all,” he added.

Siddaramiah also took on BJP president Amit Shah, responding to his comments on Twitter.

Ramnath Kovind, President

President Ramnath Kovind was also dragged into the controversy when he praised Tipu Sultan for his fight against British invaders at a public event in Bengaluru.

Speaking at a joint session of the legislature during the Vidhana Soudha’s diamond jubilee celebrations in Bengaluru, Kovind said: “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 Europeans.”

Reacting to the president’s statement, BJP leader R Ashoka blamed the ruling Congress government for Kovind’s speech. “The state government gave the speech to the President,” he said.

Amit Shah, BJP President

At a November 2 rally in Bengaluru, BJP president Amit Shah jumped into the Tipu Jayanti debate, calling the event an example of Congress’ “vote bank politics”.

“On November 1, Karnataka formation day, chief minister Siddaramaiah had a lacklustre programme with nothing to show that he cares for the state . He is now much more focused on November 10 when Tipu Jayanti is being celebrated. A celebration that is indicative of his vote bank politics,” said Shah.

“By celebrating Tipu Jayanti and indulging in vote bank politics the Congress government is not looking for the welfare of the people,” said Shah.

Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP leader

The BJP leader accused the Karnataka government of being more worried about Tipu Jayanti than its own farmers.

“Karnataka government is not paying attention to the problem of the public, the poor, and the farmers, but they are really worried about Tipu Sultan. When will CM Siddharamiah cares about the village farmers,” Hussain said.

Shehzad Poonawala, Maharashtra Congress secretary

The Congress leader tweeted that no amount of propaganda by BJP-RSS can diminish Tipu Sultan’s contribution, calling him the “tigerof Mysore”.

First Published: Nov 10, 2017 13:21 IST