BENGALURU: Protests by the BJP and right-wing outfits coupled with the absence of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and his deputy marked the ‘Tipu Jayanti’ celebrations in Karnataka Saturday.
Tipu Jayanti is celebrated to observe the birth anniversary of controversial 18th-century ruler of the erstwhile Mysore kingdom, Tipu Sultan.
The celebrations brought the state under a thick security blanket, amid threats of protests by the BJP and other organisations, with the main event in Bengaluru turning out to be lacklustre.
Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who was to inaugurate the main event at Vidhana Soudha, the seat of state legislature, in the absence of Kumaraswamy, also skipped the function.
Kumaraswamy did not attend the event, citing doctors’ advice to take rest for three days till November 11.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) had made prior announcement about Kumaraswamy’s inability to attend the function and his name was also not printed in the invitation.
Parameshwara did not attend the event as he was out of town, sources at his office told PTI, without divulging any details.
Reports emerge about difference
Following the Chief Minister’s decision to skip the event, reports had emerged about difference of opinion between the ruling coalition partners over the celebrations.
While in the opposition, Kumaraswamy had questioned the need for such celebration which was started by the previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government.
Kumaraswamy reportedly chose to skip the event to not antagonise voters in his party’s bastion of old Mysuru region, as Tipu Sultan had seized power from Maharajas of Mysuru, who are virtually revered there.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), however, issued a statement on Kumaraswamy’s absence at the event.
Kumaraswamy gives his wishes
Wishing success for Tipu Jayanti celebrations, the JD(S) leader said Tippu’s progressive measures in administration, his quest for innovation were “commendable”.
He said as he was taking rest on doctor’s advice, he was unable to take part in the programme.
“It is unnecessary to add special meaning to it. It is also far from truth that he is not taking part due to the fear of losing power, as he opposes such blind beliefs,” the CMO statement said.
This was the first such celebration of ‘Tipu Jayanti’ after the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government came to power in the state.
The previous Congress government led by Siddaramaiah began celebrating Tipu Jayanthi on November 10 every year since 2015, amid stiff opposition by the BJP, several Hindu organisations and some individuals.
BJP and several right-wing organisations held protests in different parts of the state opposing the celebrations.
Calling Tipu a “religious bigot”, the state BJP unit had urged the state government to drop its decision to celebrate the Jayanti.
In Kodagu district, where celebrations in 2015 were marred by widespread protests and violence, Tipu Jayanti Virodhi Horata Samithi called for a bandh.
VHP worker Kuttappa had dled in Kodagu district during a clash that erupted during the Tipu Jayanti that year.