Bengaluru: Karnataka BJP chief Nalin Kumar Kateel has heated up controversy after his latest comments about Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore. “All the ardent followers of Tipu Sultan should not live,” Kateel said at a gathering on Wednesday, adding that the descendants of Tipu Sultan should be chased away and sent to the forests.
“We are devotees of Lord Ram and Hanuman. We are not descendants of Tipu Sultan. We have sent back Tipu’s descendants. That is why I ask the people of Yelaburga whether they will worship Hanuman or sing Tipu Sultan’s bhajans.”
“The people of the state should think whether they want devotees of Lord Ram and Hanuman or descendants of Tipu. I challenge from the land of Lord Hanuman that those who love Tipu should not stay here. Those who sing bhajans of Lord Ram and are supporters of Lord Hanuman should stay here.”
Earlier this month, Kateel had triggered a controversy by claiming that the upcoming assembly elections in the state would be fought on “Tipu vs Savarkar”. “They (Congress) gave permission to celebrate Tipu Jayanti, which was not required. At the same time, the party made derogatory remarks about Savarkar.
The issue of Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan has become an element of polarisation in Karnataka politics. In the 2018 Karnataka elections, BJP’s firebrand leader and UP CM Yogi Adityanath started the Tipu Sultan vs Hanuman debate. In one of his rallies that set the tone for the elections, Yogi Adityanath had lashed out at the Congress, saying Karnataka was the “land of Hanuman” ruled by the then Vijayanagara empire.
The right-wing in the state sees Tipu Sultan as a staunch tyrant who forcibly converted thousands of people. The then Siddaramaiah government celebrated Tipu Jayanti for two consecutive years. The Siddaramaiah government saw Tipu Sultan as an early freedom fighter.
However, the BJP and right-wing organisations have been strongly opposing it. Tipu Sultan has once again become an issue in the upcoming assembly elections. Elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly will be held in April-May this year.