Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took on Karnataka's Congress government led by Siddaramaiah, accusing it of celebrating the "jayantis of Sultans" for the sake of "vote bank politics". The reference was to the government's decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan, which has split the state down the middle for the last three years.
"Look at the Congress character. Whose jayanti needs to celebrated with respect? From whom we have to draw inspiration for generations to generations? Veera Madakari Onake Obavva are forgotten, but for the sake of vote bank politics they are into celebrating jayantis of Sultans," he said while addressing a rally at Chitradurga.
The Congress government's decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan two years ago, has been vehemently opposed by the locals in Coorg, where the 18th Century ruler had his kingdom.
The right-wing had spearheaded the campaign demanding that the government scrap the decision. Coorg had witnessed violent protests in which two persons died.
The Congress considers the Mysore ruler who was killed in 4th Anglo-Mysore war a freedom fighter. The BJP and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh call him a brutal king who persecuted Hindus and Christians in large numbers, especially those who refused to convert to Islam.
In the run up to the elections, leader after leader of the BJP, starting with party chief Amit Shah, used the Tipu Sultan Jayanthi to accuse the government of being anti-Hindu.
In one of the earliest rallies in the state, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said it was unfortunate that the Congress was worshipping Tipu Sultan" instead of
"worshipping Hanuman and Vijayanagar" .
Onake Obavva, a Dalit woman, was the legendary wife of a soldier in the army of Madakari Nayaka, the last ruler of Chitrdurga. She is said to have killed several soldiers of the invading army of Hyder Ali, the father of Tipu Sultan, in 1779, while trying to protect the fort where her husband was the guard of a watch tower.