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From anti-Tipu campaign to Ram temple, Karnataka BJP banks on polarisation

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Bengaluru: As the countdown begins for the Karnataka assembly elections, the ruling BJP is pitching the narrative of Tipu (Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan) versus Hindu God Lord Ram and iconic figure of the Sangh Parivar Veer Savarkar in the state.

The verbal attacks on Tipu Sultan and his supporters, banning Tipu Jayanti, changing the name of the ritual of Salaam Aarti’ to Aarti Namaskara’, removing textbooks that glorify Tipu Sultan from the syllabus, staging the play Tippuvina Nijakanasugalu’ (Real Dreams of Tipu) which showcased Tipu as a religious bigot, the ruling BJP has set the tone for Hindu polarisation in the state.

The BJP has announced the building of a grand and magnificent Ram temple in Ramadevara Betta of Ramnagar district. The party has plans to develop the temple of south Ayodhya. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced the plans during the presentation of the budget.

Minister for Higher Education C.N. Ashwath Narayan stated that a Detailed Project Report would be prepared soon and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath would be invited for the ground breaking ceremony. BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel has stated that there is no place for followers of Tipu Sultan in the state and the place is only for the devotees of Lord Ram and Hanuman.

On the other hand the saffron party has named a major airport flyover in Bengaluru after its iconic figure Veer Savarkar. The text regarding Veer Savarkar has been added to the syllabus, the portrait of Veer Savarkar finds a majestic place in Belagavi Suvarna Soudha. The Congress protested against not installing the photo of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in the assembly hall.

The BJP’s attempt to put up flexes and cutouts of Veer Savarkar during the celebration of the 75th Year of Independence resulted in protests which turned violent. Stabbing incidents were reported from Shivamogga district. The police had to shoot to control the situation. Presently, the NIA is investigating the case and the probe has shown that the stabbing accused was working as a part of a global terror network.

Minister for Power, Kannada and Culture V. Sunil Kumar has stated that the ruling BJP is contemplating installing Veer Savarkar’s portraits in the schools of the state.

Hindu activists and RSS cadres went ahead with the installation of Veer Savarkar’s portrait along with Lord Ganesh during the Ganesh festival. The police department had to be on their toes to maintain law and order.

Opposition leader Siddaramaiah had condemned the installation of Veer Savarkar’s flexes in a Muslim majority locality. He had also questioned why the flexes of Tipu Sultan are not erected?

The statement stirred a controversy and Siddamaraiah faced protests in Kodagu district. The protestors threw eggs at his vehicle and the police arrested 16 persons in this connection.

Siddaramaiah had warned BJP leaders that if their activists continue to trouble him, the Congress party workers will not allow them to visit any part of the state. The ruling BJP launched a Savarkar Rath Yatra in Mysuru to create awareness among the public about the contributions and sacrifices of Veer Savarkar. BJP Central Parliamentary Board Member and former CM B.S. Yediyurappa stated that it is wrong to say that Veer Savarkar was not a freedom fighter. We will propagate the patriotism of Veer Savarkar, he claimed.

Siddaramaiah attacked the BJP and said the country got independence because of the efforts of Mahatma Gandhi and Pt Nehru and not because of the RSS. “Did Savarkar win freedom for us?” he questioned. Did anyone from the RSS or the BJP die or sacrifice their life for the freedom of India? The BJP leaders do not know history, he stated.

Minister for Higher Education C.N. Ashwath Narayan gave a public call to finish off Opposition leader Siddaramaiah like the way Tipu Sultan was finished off by chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda. Later, he regretted his statement in the assembly.

It is to be seen whose political narrative people are going to buy in the upcoming assembly elections.

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( With inputs from www.siasat.com )

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