Finish Off Siddaramaiah Call Lands Karnataka Minister In Trouble

    The Congress has filed a police complaint against CN Ashwath Narayan.


    A Karnataka minister’s appeal to “finish off” former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the opposition Congress like 18th Century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan has triggered a fresh controversy as politics in the state heats up ahead of elections later this year.

    Addressing a public gathering recently in Mandya, Higher Education Minister CN Ashwath Narayan said, “Do you want Tipu [Sultan] or [Hindutva ideologue VD] Savarkar? Where should we send this Tipu Sultan? What did Nanje Gowda do? You should finish him (Siddaramaiah) off the same way.”

    Amid a tug-of-war for votes in Karnataka over the Muslim ruler, right-wing groups have claimed that Tipu Sultan did not die fighting the British, but was killed by two Vokkaliga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda – a theory disputed by some historians.

    Reacting to the statement, the Congress unit in Karnataka has filed a police complaint against Mr Narayan. They have also filed a complaint against state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel, who said those who revere Tipu Sultan should be “driven out” of Karnataka.

    Siddaramaiah has accused Mr Narayan of trying to “instigate” people to kill him and urged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to immediately sack the minister.

    “Higher Education Minister Ashwath Narayan has appealed to people to kill me the way Tipu was killed. Ashwath Narayan, Why are you trying to instigate people? Get the gun yourself,” the Congress veteran said on Thursday.

    In a series of tweets, the former Chief Minister said that since no action had been taken against the minister, it showed that Mr Bommai, Home minister Araga Jnanendra and their “incompetent cabinet is sleeping and is in agreement with Ashwath Narayan”.

    “Has Gujarat BJP culture crept into Karnataka BJP as well?” he asked while demanding whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain silent even now, just as he was in 2002 (Gujarat riots). “Kannadigas will never let Karnataka become like Gujarat,” he wrote.

    Mr Narayan said his statement was being misinterpreted and he claimed that by “finishing off”, he meant defeating the former Chief Minister electorally and not causing any physical harm.

    Speaking in the assembly, he said, “I had compared Siddaramaiah to Tipu Sultan. I even spoke about Siddaramaiah love towards Tipu Sultan. I didn’t speak anything disgracefully against Siddaramaiah… I had criticised glorifying of a killer responsible for genocide and forceful conversion in the state. “

    “In spoken language, I meant to say that we have to defeat Congress party. I don’t have any differences with Siddaramaiah personally, I have political and ideological differences with him. I don’t have any disrespect for him. If any of my statements had hurt his feeling, I regret my statement,” he said.

    Rejecting Mr Narayan’s clarification, Siddaramaiah told reporters in Hubballi, “Narayan has no business to continue as a Minister, I request the Governor to dismiss him from the cabinet.”

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