By P.T. Bopanna
Having been a keen observer of Karnataka politics, I can vouch for the fact that whichever party uses the name of the 18th century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan will surely lose the elections.
It all started with liquor baron Vijay Mallya who bought Tipu’s sword in a London auction for Rs 1.5 crore and made a show of it in the 2004 Karnataka Assembly polls.
Showman Mallya imagined himself as a hero that by buying the sword he was restoring Kannada pride. But playboy Mallya failed to win a single seat for his Janata Party.
Being a rationalist, I tend to believe that the bleeding Kingfisher airline was the cause of his downfall, and not Tipu’s sword.
The downfall of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka began with his move to turn Coorg (Kodagu) into a ‘communal laboratory’ by deciding to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan.
The BJP cashed in on the Tipu factor as it was handed to them on a golden platter by Siddaramaiah. This helped the saffron party as they were bent on polarizing the Hindus and Muslims, especially in Coorg, Mangalore and parts of Mysore. The issue paid maximum dividend to the BJP in the ‘Tipu belt’ in the Assembly elections as the BJP bagged the maximum seats.
Now ahead of the Assembly elections, the BJP has been raking up Tipu to make a dent in the Vokkaliga belt of Mandya, Mysuru and Bengaluru rural. BJP has been traditionally known as a Lingayat party, thanks to B.S.Yediyurappa.
With Yediyurapa retiring from electoral politics, the Modi-Shah duo want to breach the Vokkaliga fortress controlled by Deve Gowda family. Prime minister Modi’s recent roadshow in Mandya was part of this strategy.
During Modi’s visit, one of the welcome arches put up by the BJP in Mandya district was that of Vokkaliga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda who the saffron brigade claims had killed Tipu Sultan. The opposition parties maintain no such persons existed before and this amounts to ‘fabrication of history’ with a view to add a communal twist.
Though I have stated earlier that whoever uses the name of Tipu would lose the elections, there can be an exception in the case of the Modi-Shah duo, who form a formidable election machine.
Even if the BJP fails to get the numbers, our Kumaranna (H.D. Kumaraswamy) is always there to give a helping hand. Even if Kumaranna backs out (he has been badly shamed by BJP leader B.L. Santosh), there is always ‘Operation Kamala’.