The Congress government in Karnataka is preparing to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan much to the chagrin of opposition BJP.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during his previous tenure as Chief Minister had started celebrating the birth anniversary of ruler of the erstwhile Mysore State on November 10, 2015.
The BJP party had then launched a massive protest across the state against the decision. The agitation had taken a violent turn and resulted in the death of a 60-year-old person allegedly in a clash.
The Congress government celebrated Tipu Jayanthi as an official programme of the government throughout the tenure till 2018, despite the stiff opposition by the BJP, Hindutva forces and people of Kodava community.
After BJP assumed power in Karnataka in 2019, former CM B.S. Yediyurappa banned Tipu Jayanthi celebrations. The BJP government even removed alleged glorification of Tipu Sultan in textbooks. The revision committee had removed the title of "Tiger of Mysore", by which Tipu Sultan was known.
The BJP leaders also made a vehement and aggressive attempt to convince people that Tipu Sultan did not die as a martyr at the hands of the British. They maintained that Vokkaliga warriors Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda killed him. The issue created a big controversy during elections. BJP former minister Muniratna had even announced a film titled 'Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda'.
Vokkaliga pontiff Niramalanandanatha Swamiji warned the BJP government that no attempt should be made to portray Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda as killers of Tipu Sultan.
He also personally summoned former minister Muniratna to the math and directed him to halt the production of the movie much to the chagrin of BJP. The saffron party had plans of wresting the Vokkaliga vote bank ahead of Assembly elections and all its plans fell flat.
M.B. Patil, Minister for Medium and Large Industries, close confidante of CM Siddaramaiah has hinted at a decision on resuming the celebration of Tipu Jayanti in Karnataka. He maintained that these matters are sensitive and will be discussed in detail in the party and the government. Patil had also warned right wing activists that they will be jailed if they try to disturb the peace in society.
Meanwhile, an FIR had been lodged against former minister and senior BJP leader Dr C.N. Ashwath Narayan for issuing the controversial statement that Siddaramaiah should be finished off like Tipu Sultan.
He gave a call to people in a public rally that they should do to Siddaramaiah what Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda did to Tipu Sultan. After the Congress took power, FIR was taken up for investigation and Ashwath Narayan has approached the High Court seeking quashing of the FIR.
The issue of celebration of Tipu Jayanthi is likely to trigger another controversy and confrontation between Congress and BJP in the state.