The countdown for Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in Karnataka has begun. And a slugfest has broken out between the Congress and BJP over the matter. While BJP has warned the Congress against going ahead with the celebrations, Congress has stood its ground.
Dy CM and Karnataka Home minister G Parameshwara asserted Congress' stand on Tipu Jayanthi. He said, "They've (BJP) been saying that they won't let us go ahead with the celebrations. But the government is firm on the matter. Earlier, former CM Siddaramaiah decided to celebrate Tipu Jayanthi and we went ahead with it. We will continue that practice. The whole world is aware of BJP's ideology. Congress and JD(S) believe in secularism. We believe that everyone is equal in society. But BJP's ideology is opposed to all this. So, there is no way we can cooperate with them."
Although the Congress' stand is not surprising, the timing at which the issue has been raised is questionable. The Election Commission recently, announced that by-polls for three Lok Sabha seats and two assembly seats will commence on November 3. Interestingly, Tipu Jayanthi celebrations will begin on November 10 in the state.
The BJP is, however, not convinced with Congress' explanation on Tipu Jayanthi.
"Tipu Sultan massacred Kannadigas by the lakhs to flourish his religious agenda and that’s an irrefutable part of our History. The Congress party projects and celebrate a false God as a freedom fighter, only for the sake of votes. BJP was and will remain opposed to it. Speaking of equality, are the Kodavas, Mandyam Iyengars and the Catholics of Karwar less equal, that a mass murderer who killed their ancestors by thousands is being celebrated by the Congress party?" Malavika Avinash, spokesperson, BJP said.
With just a few weeks left for the by-polls and five months for the all crucial Lok Sabha elections, Congress and JD(S) will look to strengthen their vote base. But BJP feels that Congress' plans of celebrating Tipu Jayanthi will backfire soon.
Historians and intellectuals are divided when it comes to the matter of debating Tipu's legacy. Earlier, on October 25th, 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind was invited to Karnataka to mark the 60th anniversary of Vidhan Soudha where he praised Tipu in his address at the council.