Union Minister of State and BJP leader Ananth Kumar Hegde who has voiced opposition to the celebration of Tipu Jayanti by the Karnataka government claimed that Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Deputy CM G Parameshwara deliberately gave the event a miss on Saturday. In his Facebook post on Saturday, he also alleged that former Prime Minister and JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda had ensured that the CM and Deputy CM skip the event to escape the same fate as former CM Siddaramaiah.
Taking a dig at Siddaramaiah, who had initiated Tipu Jayanti celebrations in 2015 under the previous Congress government, the BJP leader claimed that his support for Muslims ensured he did not return to power. In a bigoted post, Ananth Kumar Hegde said, “Tipu Jayanti is a state sponsored event. But the CM and Dy CM escaped the event because they did not want to be born Muslims in their next life. This is Deve Gowda's strategy and he was successful. We all saw how Goddess Chamundi took her revenge on Siddaramaiah for supporting Muslims. Now Deve Gowda does not want to meet the same fate and he had widely stayed away from Tipu Jayanti.”
“Siddaramaiah said he would become the next CM. But look what happened. He had has had to run shoulders with the one person he did not wish to see at CM. This is because he celebrated Tipu. So Deve Gowda decided not to meet the same fate. He sent his son to a resort and he went to Dubai to shop,” he added.
However, the CM’s office refuted the claim by Ananth Kumar Hegde. An official statement from the CM’s office stated, “The Chief Minister is taking rest on doctor's advice, and hence is unable to take part in the programme. It is far from truth that he isn't taking part due to the fear of losing power, as he opposes such blind beliefs."
Minority Welfare Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan told reporters that Parameshwara had to leave for Singapore due to prior engagements. A support staff of the Deputy CM claimed, “The event was scheduled at 6.30pm earlier and was later rescheduled to 11.30am. He wasn't informed by the department. He landed here only by 4pm.”
Saturday marked the first Tipu Jayanti for the ruling JD(S)-Congress alliance. Despite stiff opposition from the BJP and Hindutva organisations the state government went ahead with the 269th birth anniversary of erstwhile Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan with Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar, Minority Welfare Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan and Culture Minister Jayamala presiding over the event in capital Bengaluru. Celebrations were also held across the state's district headquarters with police keeping a strict vigil. Kumaraswamy, who had opposed Tipu Jayanti earlier, reportedly gave in to the compulsion of coalition politics to observe the occasion.
Since 2015, The Congress began celebrating the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler on November 10 to honour him as a patriot and for his yeoman service to the people in the southern region. Since, then the BJP has opposed the decision by former CM SIddaramaiah and had called it as “Muslim appeasement”. They claim Tipu was a despot who was anti-Hindu who destroyed temples and persecuted Kodavas and Mangaluru Christians. The Congress in turn claims that Tipu was secular and fought against the British and it was duty bound to commemorate his birth anniversary.