President Kovind praises Tipu Sultan in his address, leaves BJP red-faced

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah praised the President for “a statesman like address”.
President Kovind praises Tipu Sultan in his address, leaves BJP red-faced
President Kovind praises Tipu Sultan in his address, leaves BJP red-faced
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The ongoing controversy over the issue of observing Tipu Jayanti by the present Karnataka government took a fresh turn on Wednesday after President Ram Nath Kovind referred to Tipu Sultan’s death as “heroic”.

In an embarrassment to the BJP, the President praised the former Mysuru king while addressing a joint Assembly session at the Vidhana Soudha, on the occasion of its diamond jubilee.

“Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. The technology was later adopted by Europeans,” President Kovind said amidst applause from the members of both Houses.

“Congratulations to Hon. President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind for a statesman like address to the Karnataka legislature,” CM Siddaramaiah tweeted soon after the President’s speech.

Former Deputy Chief Minister KS Eshwarappa, however, said that the Karnataka government deliberately made the Rashtrapati Bhavan praise Tipu Sultan in his speech.

The BJP in Karnataka has been dead against observing Tipu Jayanti, which it calls an act of Muslim appeasement by the ruling Congress, especially ahead of the 2018 elections. 

Earlier, Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde had called it a “shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist”.

He also demanded that his name be removed from the invitation for the state's Tipu Jayanti celebrations.

Reacting to the union minister’s statements, CM Siddaramaiah said, "The issue is being politicised. There were four wars against the British and Tipu fought them all.”

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 state government’s decision to go ahead with the celebrations stirred widespread protests and violence, which marred the celebrations of the last two years. In 2015, two people died during clashes on Tipu Jayanti. However, the state government is all set to proceed with the event for the third year.

BJP MP Pratap Simha had also pointed out that November 10 was the day Tipu allegedly hanged 700 Melkote Iyengars, and that it was not Tipu’s birth anniversary.

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