Karnataka BJP Leader Defies Party Line, Calls Tipu Sultan “Son of the Soil”

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Tipu Sultan

“Tipu Sultan does not belong to any party or cast or religion. Tipu Sultan is the son of this soil, so he should not be belittled, by limiting him to any religion,” BJP MLC AH Vishwanath said.

BENGALURU — In a statement contrary to the party’s stand, newly nominated Karnataka BJP MLC AH Vishwanath on Wednesday hailed the 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan as a “son of this soil” who fought against the British for freedom.

Vishwanath who defected to BJP after rebelling against the Congress-JD(S) alliance last year, also openly expressed his Ministerial aspirations.

“…in the South there was Tipu Sultan… these are the people who sounded the bugle for the country’s freedom, similarly Sangolli Rayanna (18th Century warrior and freedom fighter in Kittur) too…for their love towards freedom and sacrifice, we, this country have to bow down our heads,” he told reporters.

When pointed out that his party BJP has a different view on Tiger of Mysore, the MLC said it was a different matter.

“Tipu Sultan does not belong to any party or cast or religion. Tipu Sultan is the son of this soil, so he should not be belittled, by limiting him to any religion,” he said.

Soon after coming to power in Karnataka, the BJP government had scrapped the birth anniversary celebrations of Tipu Sultan, an annual government event the party had been opposing since 2015 when it was launched during the Congress regime led by Siddaramaiah.

The BJP and right-wing organisations have been strongly opposing Tipu, calling the legendary Mysore ruler a “religious bigot”.

Responding to a question reading the controversy regarding plans to drop lessons regarding Tipu from school history textbooks, Vishwanath said it was not dropped and was being included in the higher classes.

“…we don’t read properly…it was shifted to other text books, the lessons were not removed…we have to read about Tipu Sultan also. We have to read about everyone including Mahatma Gandhi and others,” he added.

Chapters on Tipu Sultan and his father Haider Ali were among those that had been dropped from the class 7 Social Science test books, following the Karnataka government’s decision to reduce syllabi for 2020-21 due to COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the government subsequently has asked the Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS) to put on hold the trimmed syllabus of books that omitted chapters on Tipu Sultan, following criticism from various quarters.

Vishwanath also pitched himself for the Ministerial post, pointing to his ”vast” experience.
“I have expectations that I might be given a chance too. They should understand… I should be given (ministerial post) since there is my contribution too in BJP coming to power again,” the leader said, referring to his past experience as a minister, MP and MLA.

— PTI

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