First, tell Kovind to drop word of praise for Tipu, says DKS

Bengaluru: Lambasting BJP leaders for criticising Tipu Jayanti, water resource minister D. K. Shivakumar,  invoking President Ramanath Kovind’s speech, dared the BJP to get Mr Kovind to withdraw his word of praise for the 18th century ruler of Mysuru, on Saturday.

Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary was celebrated under tight lice protection across the state. Tipu Jayanti, which the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government started in 2015, was held at  banquet hall, Vidhana Soudha. The event was held amidst stiff opposition from the BJP and with prohibitory orders clamped in parts of the state.

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

Mr Kovind’s address last year had caused embarrassment to 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,” Mr Kovind had stated. Former minister R. Roshan Baig questioned in his address that should Muslims seek permission of the BJP to celebrate Tipu Jayanti when there a Congress-JD(S) coalition in power? “A time will come when Tipu Jayanti will be celebrated in Delhi,” he thundered. Minister, B. Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan questioned: “Why did BJP leaders B. S. Yeddyurappa, Jagadish Shettar and R. Ashok celebrate Tipu Jayanti 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.”  

The audience at the Tipu Jayanti event comprised mostly of Minority Welfare Minister Mr Khan’s followers and many special invitees to the event did not show up, including Council chairperson Basavaraj Horatti of 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.

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