With the Karnataka chief minister and his deputy skipping the Tipu Jayanthi celebrations, a Congress legislator Saturday termed it as an insult to the Muslim community.
“This was the first Tipu Jayanthi of the new government. The information is that following doctor’s advice chief minister H D Kumaraswamy is not taking part (in the programmes). Deputy chief minister G Parameshwara is on a foreign tour. This development has somewhere come across as though the community has been insulted. There is no doubt about it,” MLA and former minister Tanveer Sait said.
According to party sources, several Congress leaders, especially those from the Muslim community, are miffed with the chief minister and deputy chief minister for giving the event a miss.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Sait said politics and party notwithstanding it was his duty to express the sentiments of his community.
He requested the chief minister to at least attend a Tipu Jayanthi event at a place near to where he was taking rest.
“I request the chief minister to try and attend the programme at H D Kote that is near to the place where he is taking his break,” he added.
Protests by BJP and right wing outfits and the absence of Kumaraswamy and Parameshwara marked Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in Karnataka, which marks the birth anniversary of 18th-century ruler Tipu Sultan.
The previous Congress government, led by Siddaramaiah, began celebrating Tipu Jayanthi on November 10 every year since 2015, amid stiff opposition from the BJP, several Hindu organisations, and some individuals.
Sait said the government should show the same enthusiasm when celebrating Tipu Jayanthi as is done during the jayanthis of stalwarts from other communities.
“Cancelling celebrations or processions and banning all programmes other than scheduled government events just because someone will cause hurdle somewhere, causes insult to the community,” he added.
Kumaraswamy did not attend the event citing doctor’s advice to take rest for three days till November 11.
The chief minister’s office had made prior announcement about Kumaraswamy’s inability to attend the function and his name was also not printed in the invitations.
Following the chief minister’s decision to skip the event, reports had emerged about differences in opinion between the ruling coalition partners about Tipu Jayanthi celebrations.
While in the opposition, Kumaraswamy had questioned the need for such celebrations.
Kumaraswamy reportedly chose to skip the event, not wishing to antagonise voters in his party’s bastion of old Mysuru region, as Tipu Sultan along with his father Hyder Ali had seized power from Maharajas of Mysuru, who are virtually revered there.
Parameshwara, who was to inaugurate the main Tipu Jayanthi celebration event at Vidhana Soudha, the seat of state legislature here, in the absence of Kumaraswamy, also skipped the function Saturday.
Parameshwara was reportedly in Singapore to visit a senior politician from Karnataka, who is ailing.
His office maintained that the deputy chief minister was out of town.
Later in a statement, Parameshwara, while hailing Tipu and his contributions to the state, maintained that due to unavoidable reasons he was unable to attend Tipu Jayanthi celebrations Saturday and wished success for the event.