Karnataka: Congress Tries To Reclaim ‘The Tipu Sultan Card’ Before AIMIM Can Make It Its Own
While Tipu as a political issue had taken a backseat since the text-book debate, the Tipu Jayanti celebrations, have brought him back to the fore.
With the SDPI armtwisted, it is the perfect ground and time for the Congress to jump in and garner back its minority vote bank yet again.
Congress in Karnataka had been trying hard to use the charges of corruption against the incumbent government and centered much of its political campaign around it over the last few months.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ‘Vikas meets Virasat’ narrative was being fought with the various scams and 40 per cent corruption charges in the state.
But the Hijab debate, the Praveen Nettaru murder case, the Popular Front of India (PFI) ban and the lack lustre stint of the Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state have forced it to resort to 'appeasement' yet again, it looks like.
And it is doing so by reclaiming the ‘Tipu Sultan Card’ before the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) could steal it from under their nose.
Tipu Sultan Jayanti which used to be celebrated under the then chief minister Siddharamaiah’s tenure as a state event was disbanded the moment the BJP came to power in the state in 2019.
Under former chief minister B S Yediyurappa, the Karnataka government had said the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan would not be held funded by the ex-chequer, like had been initiated under the previous government led by Siddharamaiah.
In response to a PIL, and to the High Court‘s direction that it reconsider the order, the government had clarified that no one was barred from celebrating it on their own, just that the state would not be doing so.
While Tipu as a political issue had taken a backseat since the text-book debate regarding inclusion of his tale in the syllabus, the Jayanti celebrations, have brought him back to the fore.
The birth anniversary of the tyrant who has been charged with the massacre of Kodavas, Mangaloreans and Mandya Iyengars in Melukote, but hailed as the ‘Tiger of Mysuru’ by textbooks and a certain school of historians, is said to be on 10 November.
And this year, it was the AIMIM which jumped into the ring with its celebrations in Hubballi. The Asaduddin Owaisi led AIMIM and Samata Sainik Dal sought permission from the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation (HDMC) and held the commmemorative celebrations on Thursday (10 November) at the Idgah ground.
Sri Ram Sena chief Pramod Mutalik who threatened protest against it was detained just before the said event. ‘Tipu Amar Rahe’ echoed the AIMIM leaders in Hubballi.
This seems to have woken up the Congress leaders who, having already lost the Hijab spectacle to the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Campus Front of India, wouldn't want the AIMIM stealing this one away.
And close on the heels of the unveiling of the statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bengaluru, Congress MLA and former minister Tanveer Sait announced plans to install a 100-feet statue of Tipu, either in Mysuru or in Srirangapatna.
‘There is no scope for installing statues in Islam. If it was allowed, there would have been statues everywhere. Despite this, I have said, with an intention to bring to light Tipu's rule which was a model for a democratic government…..’ said Sait, announcing the statue, as quoted by PTI.
And with this, kickstarted the Tipu row yet again. In response to Muthalik threatening to bring down any such statue just ’like the Babri’, Saleem Ahmed has been questioning the law and order in the state and asked how the chief minister can let such statements be made.
Former chief minister Veerappa Moily has also supported the statue proposal calling Tipu, ‘a symbol justice and the great fight against the British’.
Sait‘s name has been linked with Tipu Jayanti celebrations earlier when the then primary and higher education minister in Siddharamaiah cabinet was accused of watching porn during one such event in Raichur.
Siddaramaiah too has nodded in approval to the statue plans saying ‘Let them do (install) it. Doesn't Tipu deserve it? If they want to do it, let them do it.'
With the SDPI armtwisted, what with its various leaders behind bars for holding positions in the PFI and involvement in the the Praveen Nettaru murder case, it is perfect ground and time for the Congress to jump in and garner back its minority vote bank yet again.
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