Bengaluru: Union Minister Anantkumar Hegde has conveyed to the Karnataka government not to invite him to the "shameful" event of Tipu Sultan Jayanti on November 10.
"(I have) conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist," Hegde said in a tweet yesterday.
The BJP leader had also written a letter to the chief secretary and the Uttara Kannada deputy commissioner, asking them to direct the state government not to include his name in the programme invitations to mark the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler of the princely state of Mysore.
Reacting to Hegde's letter, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said he should not have done it as he was part of the government. "As part of the government, he shouldn't have written it...Invitation (for Tipu Jayanti celebration) will be sent out to all central and state leaders, up to them to accept or reject," he told reporters here on Saturday.
Siddaramaiah also flayed the BJP for politicising the issue. "There were four wars against the British and Tipu fought them all," he said, while claiming that Tipu was a "freedom fighter" who helped liberate India from the yoke of colonialism.
State Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said, "Any MLA or MP will be invited to an event happening in his or her constituency." "It is a protocol, and has been done earlier and will be continued in future too... To attend Tipu Jayanti or not is up to Hegde," he added.
In 2016, Hegde had flayed the state government for celebrating Tipu Jayanti despite opposition from some sections of the society living in coastal belts of the state and Kodagu areas, claiming that the ruler was "against Kannada language and anti-Hindu". Subsequently, Hegde was arrested for threatening to disrupt celebrations in Uttara Kannada district.
The Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has been in thick of controversies for his anti-Islam comments and assaulting a doctor in his district a few months ago. The government's decision to celebrate the day on November 10 last year had drawn much criticism from the BJP and the RSS, who termed this act of the Congress as "minority appeasement". The Siddaramaiah-led government is all set to celebrate Tipu Jayanti despite widespread protests and violence that had marred celebrations in the last two years. — (PTI)