The decibel of verbal confrontation between Karnataka leaders has reached a new level with BJP minister Dr C Ashwath Narayan urging people to “finish off” Karnataka’s “present-day Tipu Sultan” Siddaramaiah the same way Vokkalinga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda killed the Mysore ruler in the 18th Century.
Narayan’s statement comes just a day after state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel stirred up another controversy when he said staunch followers of Tipu Sultan should not be alive and the former ruler’s descendants should be driven away into the forests.
“Do you want Tipu or Savarkar? Where should we send this Tipu Sultan (Siddaramaiah)? What did Uri Gowda, Nanje Gowda do? You should finish him off the same way,” Narayan had said while addressing BJP workers in Mandya on Monday. Narayan said if the BJP loses the upcoming elections, then Siddaramaiah, the man who admires Tipu Sultan, will come to power.
“Get the gun….” says Siddaramaiah
A visibly angry Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah not only urged the Bengaluru Police to take up a suo moto case of ‘death threats’ by the two BJP leaders but also questioned the minister about instigating people. “Aswath Narayan, why are you trying to instigate people? Get the gun yourself,” he said in a strongly worded tweet.
“What do you mean by saying finish off Siddaramaiah like how Tipu Sultan was? It is an offence and it attracts the Indian Penal Code. The police should take up the case suo moto. I ask the PM and Amit Shah whether this statement was right or wrong. The position of a minister is one of responsibility, one that safeguards people. That very minister is saying finish off Siddaramaiah?” the senior Congress leader added.
Karnataka’s higher education minister Narayan later apologised for his statement, saying he had ‘no personal differences with Siddaramaiah’. He added that comparing Siddaramaiah with Tipu Sultan was just “casual allusion” and a mere political debate.
“I regret the statement made if it has hurt Siddaramaiah. I do not have any personal differences with him. Our differences are purely political and ideological,” the minister said on the floor of the assembly.
“My statement was made in the context of displaying how the BJP should defeat the Congress. It was a way to say that we should defeat Siddaramaiah in the elections,” he explained amidst protesting voices from the Congress in the assembly.
MP Renukacharya, political secretary to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and BJP MLA also condemned Narayan’s remarks. “If he has said this, I condemn it and I’ll speak to him,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said that the BJP has stooped to this level as they feared losing the upcoming election. “They aim to create polarisation and they have become desperate,” he said.
Not British, Vokkaliga chieftains defeated Tipu?
While history has records that indicate Tipu Sultan died while defending his capital of Srirangapatna during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore war in 1799, Narayan was referring to another version described in a controversial book by Cariyappa called ‘Tipu Nij Nijyam’, which is based on the life of Tipu Sultan.
The book that was also adapted as a play ‘Tippuvina Nija Kanasugalu’ (Real Dreams of Tipu) and showcased in November last year says Tipu Sultan was not killed by the British, but by Vokkaliga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda. This was what Narayan was referring to when he remarked about Siddaramaiah.
The sale and distribution of Cariyappa’s book were banned by a civil court in Bengaluru, stating it could cause disruption of peace and harmony in the state. The decision to ban it came after a suit was filed by Raifulla BS, the former chairman of the District Waqf Board Committee. The complainant stated that the contents of the book were based on false information and the writer could not show any source or basis for the information.
“If the contents of the play are false and contain false information about Tipu Sultan, and if the same is distributed, it would cause irreparable loss to the plaintiff, and there are chances of breach of communal peace and harmony. It is common knowledge that controversial books sell like hotcakes,” the court observed.
Karnataka BJP chief on Tipu, Love Jihad and Savarkar
On Wednesday, BJP state president Kateel made another controversial remark, adding to his list of similar statements in the past few weeks.
While addressing BJP supporters at Yelaburga in Koppal district, Kateel, who had recently remarked that the upcoming Karnataka elections will not be fought between the BJP and Congress but Veer Savarkar versus Tipu, said “those who are staunch followers of Tipu should not survive on this fertile land”.
“We are devotees of Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman. We are not the offspring of Tipu. I want to ask the people of Yelburga – Who do you worship, Anjaneya (Hanuman) or chant Tipu’s name?” Kateel asked, invoking the name of Hanuman in Koppal as it is believed to be the real “Kishkinda”, the birthplace of Lord Hanuman.
When the crowd responded to Kateel saying Hanuman, the BJP leader went on – “Won’t you drive away those who are singing praises of Tipu back into the forest? I am issuing a challenge. Those who are staunch followers of Tipu should not survive on this fertile land,” he told the gathering.
This is not the first time that the Karnataka BJP chief has stoked controversy though his remarks. A week ago, while speaking at a public meeting in Shivamogga, he said the 2023 polls will be fought between the ideologies of Hindutva ideologue Savarkar and Tipu Sultan.
Another video of Kateel that went viral on social media showed him saying that people of Karnataka should not waste time on “roads, gutters, drains, and other small issues” and should rather prioritise ‘Love Jihad’ to save innocent Hindu girls from that trap. The Dakshina Kannada MP made this statement on January 4 while speaking at the launch of the ‘Booth Vijay Abhiyaan’ in Mangaluru city in January.
Read all the Latest Politics News here