President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday during a speech to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Vidhana Soudha, Karnataka legislature building, listed Tipu Sultan, the 18th-century ruler of Mysore, among the “formidable soldiers” from Karnataka. He said, “Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British.” President Kovind added,”He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by the Europeans.”
President made the remarks even as the ruling Congress government in Karnataka and the opposition BJP were at loggerheads with each other over the state government’s plans to celebrate the birth anniversary of the ruler. Kovind’s remarks are in contradiction to the state BJP’s stand on Tipu Sultan. He said,”Karnataka is a land of formidable soldiers. Krishnadeva Raya was the greatest ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire and remains an inspiration for all Indians. Kempe Gowda was the founder of Bengaluru. Rani Chennamma of Kittur and Rani Abbakka led among the earliest battles against colonial powers.”
BJP in Karnataka has been opposing the annual plan of the Karnataka government to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan and has been threatening major protests in the state on November 10 if the state goes ahead with the plan. Notably, BJP and its affiliated right-wing organisations label Tipu Sultan as a “religious bigot” and have opposed celebrations of his birth anniversary in recent times although leaders of the party have participated in Tipu Jayanti celebrations in the past.
Last year, the Tipu Jayanti celebrations in Karnataka was marred by clashes on communal lines.