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Kovind's praise of Tipu leads to war of words between Karnataka BJP, Cong

BJP alleged K'taka govt had misued office of Prez by getting Tipu's name in speech while Congress said Opposition should be ashamed for levelling this charge

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the joint session of the Karnataka Legislature to commemorate the the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru. (Photo: PTI)
President Ram Nath Kovind addressing the joint session of the Karnataka Legislature to commemorate the the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Vidhan Soudha in Bengaluru. (Photo: PTI)

President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday hailed Tipu Sultan, saying he died a heroic death fighting the British, remarks that came in the backdrop of protests by the in against the glorification of the 18th century Mysore ruler.

The remarks by the President in his address to the joint session of legislature amid the raging debate on Tipu Sultans legacy sparked a war of words between the ruling and opposition The saffron party has opposed the government's plans for 'Tipu Jayanti' celebrations on his birth anniversary on November 10.


The alleged that the state has "misused" the office of the President by getting Tipu's name mentioned in the speech while the said the opposition party should be "ashamed" for levelling this charge.

The celebrations have been opposed tooth and nail by the which sees as a "religious bigot" and a "brutal killer".

"died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by the Europeans," Kovind said while noting that is a land of formidable soldiers.

The President's reference to came after he noted the contributions of various historical figures of Karnataka, including Krishnadevaraya who was the emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1509 to 1529.

As the President made the reference about in his speech to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Vidhana Soudha, the seat of state legislature, members cheered by thumping of the desks.

"Congratulations to Hon. President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind for a statesman like address to the legislature. @rashtrapatibhvn," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah tweeted on his personal twitter handle @siddaramaiah.

Tipu was a ruler of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore, who was considered an implacable enemy of the British East India Company. He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna against the British forces.

Opposition and some outfits are opposed to Tipu Jayanti celebrations and have called him "religious bigot", "fanatic" and "anti-Kannada".

is also viewed in a negative light in Kodagu district where he is alleged to have persecuted the local Kodava population, as also the Roman Catholics of Mangaluru, on religious grounds and forced conversion to Islam.

Hitting out at the state government, Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council alleged that has "misused" the office of the President by getting Tipu's name mentioned in the speech.

"I condemn it....it is an insult done to people of by the state If we had raised objections when President mentioned Tipu, it would have lead to violation of protocol...," he added.

Reacting to the allegations, state Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao said should be "ashamed."

He said "by trying to say that president has just read out a speech written by somebody, they are insulting the office of the President and the President."

Suggesting that the speech was prepared by the President's office after collecting inputs from various sources, Rao said, "...such allegations shows the state of mind the leaders are in."

Recently, Union minister Anantkumar Hegde kicked up a row after he requested the not to include his name in programme invitations for Tipu Jayanti celebrations.

"(I have) conveyed (to) not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist," Hegde had said in a tweet.

The is all set to celebrate 'Tipu Jayanti' despite widespread protests and violence that had marred celebrations in the last two years.

First Published: Wed, October 25 2017. 20:47 IST
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