Months ahead of Assembly elections in Karnataka, a political slugfest has broken out in the state over Tipu Sultan. It all started after K Siddaramaiah-led state government decided to celebrate Tipu Sultan Jayanti. Reacting first, Anantkumar Hegde, Union Minister of State for Skill Development, categorically informed the Karnataka government not to include his name in any of the events celebrating the Tipu Jayanti. Writing a letter to the chief secretary of state and the deputy commissioner of Uttara Kannada, Hegde asked them to leave him out in programme invitations to mark the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan on November 10.
“(I have) Conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist,” the BJP leader said in a tweet (unverified account). Replying to his letter, state Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that Hegde, as part of government, shouldn’t have written it. “Invitation (for Tipu Jayanti celebration) will be sent out to all central and state leaders, up to them to accept/reject,” Siddaramaiah was quoted as saying by ANI. “It is being made into a political issue. There were four wars against British and Tipu fought them all,” he added.
Shobha Karandlaje, BJP MP from Karnataka’ Udupi-Chickmagalur, said that Tipu was anti-Kannada and anti-Hindu, all the Kannadigas are opposing it (Tipu Jayanti celebration). “Told government that they shouldn’t celebrate Tipu Jayanti from government’s side but they are into vote-bank politics,” she said.
Hegde, the MP for Uttara Kannada, had also made similar request last year when he asked the Deputy Commissioner of Uttara Kannada not to include his name in the programme invitations. The BJP in the state of Karnataka has been opposing state-sponsored Tipu Jayanti celebrations.