The virtual air around Karnataka has been rather quiet for a change, the evening before the state government is due to celebrate Tipu Jayanti, a move that has been fraught with contention.
Given the rather staunch opposition to the celebration of Tipu Jayanti that the BJP and its affiliates have, one would have expected some rather high decibel 140-character mud-slinging. Instead, what Twitterati saw, was a rather muted, token bark from one side and an equally half-hearted bite from the other.
On Monday evening, official Twitter handle of the Karntaka BJP said:
Tippu Sultan was a cruel ruler & killed many Hindus,BJP considers the celebrations by Congress as an insult to those killed by Tippu...— BJP Karnataka (@bjpkarnataka) November 9, 2015
Its only other tweet on the subject was to say that the party had decided to boycott the official celebrations. But it had also issued a press release by Monday evening.
As far as Twitter is concerned, little can be expected from the Karnataka Congress. The state unit of the party has two “official” Twitter handles, neither of which are used regularly. Ditto with the Twitter handles of the state chief G Parameshwara, who was recently made home minister.
FYI, Congress leaders do not even follow each other, the handful who are on Twitter. However, minister for food and civil supplies and national spokesperson for the party Dinesh Gundu Rao did take the trouble to shoot a response.
Tagging the BJP, he dedicated one tweet to Tipu’s bravery and heroism in standing up to the British and two others to taunt the BJP and RSS:
The major battle on Tipu, however, has been fought on news channels and other traditional media with the BJP and its supporters losing no opportunity to slam the ruling Congress government for declaring November 10 as Tipu Jayanti.
BJP leaders have claimed that Tipu was “anti-national”, and have accused him of endless wrong-doing supported by historial distortions at best, and no evidence at worst.
On Sunday, however, Home Minister G Parameshwara responded by saying that the state government had no problem with opposition to Tipu Jayanti, but warned that if people took the law into their own hands, action would be taken against them.
Gopal of the VHP told The News Minute that its members would stage protests across the stage and "Do our best to stop the celebrations". He said that the VHP had called for a bandh in Kodagu and rasta rokos had been in Chitradurga and elsewhere in the state.