Defying the party line, at least two BJP MLAs and one corporator participated in Tipu Jayanti celebrations on Friday.
Following media reports, former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Jagadish Shettar issued a press statement stating that “strict action” will be taken against those leaders for not following the party diktat. Addressing reporters in Vidhana Soudha, Shettar said, “We will take serious action because our party stand is very clear.”
Reiterating the BJP’s stand on Tipu Jayanti, the leader called the celebrations an exercise of “vote bank politics” by the ruling Congress and said the event creates communal tension across the state.
Despite the BJP strong opposition to Tipy Jayanti, BJP MLA and former minister Anand Singh chose to participate in the state government-held event at Ballari. In his address at the event in Hosapete, Anand said although his party was against Tipu Jayanti, he preferred to be amongst the people.
“There have been protests against Tipu Jayanti organised by the State government. Even our party is against it. But I am not that big a politician who can speak about the controversy. I am a simple man preferring to be amongst the people and discharge my responsibilities. I don’t want to indulge in any kind of politics. As a human being, I will be pained to know if any community is in distress and will rush to offer help,” said the BJP MLA, as reported by The Hindu.
He later told mediapersons that he was unaware of any restrictions being placed by the BJP President over participating in Tipu Jayanti celebrations.
Several BJP leaders also celebrated Tipu Jayanti in Ballari city, reported The Hindu.
Govindaraju, a corporator and a close aide of mining baron Janardhan Reddy also hosted private celebrations in Ballari to mark the event.
In Bengaluru, Bommasandra MLA M Satish Reddy had his photograph featured in flexes made for the event.
Meanwhile, Tipu Jayanti celebrations went on as planned without any major incidents of violence or law and order issue in Karnataka.
Members of the BJP, Bajrang Dal, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad were detained by the police in places where they tried to stage protests.
In Kodagu, where there was a heavy police presence, 200 BJP workers were detained for staging a protest. Similar scenes were witnessed in Kalburgi and Uttara Kannada districts where the police detained protesters. Police also restricted one pro-Tipu Jayanti procession in Bengaluru.
The state administration was well prepared for law and order incidents on the occasion of Tipu Jayanti with prohibitory orders (Section 144 of CrPC) imposed on several sensitive districts. In 2015, two people died during clashes on Tipu Jayanti.
The current Siddaramaiah-led Congress government made it an annual affair to celebrate Tipu’s birthday on November 10 from 2015 onwards, under the Department of Kannada and Culture. The BJP has maintained the current government’s move of observing Tipu Jayanti as an act of Muslim appeasement.