By P.T. Bopanna
The newly elected chief minister of Karnataka B.S. Yediyurappa (in picture) should be commended for taking up issues concerning Kodagu (Coorg) a day after he assumed office. This is probably first time when Kodagu has been a priority for any government after the erstwhile Coorg State merged with Karnataka in 1956, except when R. Gundu Rao, who hailed from Kodagu was the chief minister.
One of the first meetings he chaired after becoming chief minister was to review the rehabilitation work related to the reconstruction of the district which suffered huge landslides last year. He directed Kodagu administration to submit a comprehensive action plan of Rs 535 crore for the reconstruction of the infrastructure. The meeting was also attended by legislators from Kodagu.
Another major decision taken by Yediyurappa was to stop celebration of Tipu Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the 18th century Mysuru ruler. The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting held on Monday.
The decision to discontinue Tipu jayanthi was taken on a representation by Virajpet MLA K.G. Bopaiah who had argued that Tipu Jayanthi had led to serious law and order problem in the district.
The BJP government led by Yediyurappa should be commended for discontinuing the Tipu celebration which they had promised to do so if the party came to power.
The Siddaramaiah government decided to celebrate Tipu’s 266th birth anniversary for the first time in 2015, mainly with a view to woo the Muslim voters. It was competitive politics which made Siddaramaiah to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Mysore ruler as the previous BJP government also did something similar when it introduced Basava, Valmiki and Kanakadasa Jayanthis and declared some as public holidays.
To appease the Muslims, Siddaramaiah has decided to make the controversial Tipu Sultan Jayanthi an annual affair. Two persons were killed, including VHP activist D.S. Kuttappa, when violence broke out in Kodagu during the Tipu Jayanthi in 2015.
The Tipu jayanthi has been opposed tooth and nail by the Kodavas (Coorgs) who were at the receiving end of the excesses committed by the Mysuru ruler. As Kodavas resisted Tipu’s attempts to conquer Kodagu, he forcibly converted Kodavas into Islam after taking them prisoners in a deceptive manner.
The top priority of the BJP government in Karnataka should be to protect the environment. It is no secret that the BJP legislators in Kodagu are hand in glove with the timber lobby to loot the forests. Yediyurappa should put a stop to various rail and highway projects planned across Kodagu to prevent an ecological disaster.