By P.T. Bopanna
Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy (in picture), deputy chief minister Dr G. Parameshwara, and Kodagu district in-charge minister Sa Ra Mahesh should be commended for ‘boycotting’ the Tipu Jayanthi on Saturday.
The absence of the chief minister, deputy chief minister and district in-charge minister has demonstrated that Tipu birth anniversary is the ‘political illegitimate child’ of former chief minister Siddaramaiah and the leaders do not want to be part of the opportunistic and divisive politics of Siddaramaiah.
While Kumaraswamy had cited health reasons for skipping the function, the absence of Dr Parameshwara was surprising because his name had figured in the invitation for the Tipu function at Vidhana Soudha.
However, it is learnt there was rift within the JD (S)-Congress coalition government on the venue. While the deputy chief minister wanted the function to be held at Ravindra Kalakshetra, Siddaramaiah wanted the function to be held at Vidhana Soudha.
The reason for Kodagu district in-charge minister Mahesh staying away from the function is not clear. It is possible that he had taken the cue from his leader Kumaraswamy. In the past also, Congress minister M.R. Seetharam had skipped the Tipu function at Madikeri.
In the absence of Mahesh, the Madikeri function got over within 10 minutes on Saturday.
In the circumstances, it is time to ponder over the question whether the Tipu Jayanthi should be held at all. The issue should be discussed in the Legislative Assembly and a decision has to be taken in the matter.
The people of Kodagu are not opposing the function because Tipu was a Muslim. Writer Gautham Machaiah says: “We are opposed to Tipu Jayanti not because he was a Muslim, but because he was a tyrant who butchered thousands of Coorgs, mainly women and children, and forcibly converted innumerable people. We would have equally opposed Tipu Jayanti had he been a Hindu or a Christian.”