Bengaluru: The Congress-JD(S) led Karnataka government managed to celebrate Tipu Jayanti without any incidents of violence on Saturday but the absence of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and his deputy Dr G Parameshwara from the events has ruffled some feathers within the grand old party.
Voices of disapproval emerged from within the ruling coalition, with a Congress MLA terming the leaders’ absence an "insult" to the Muslim community.
Speaking to the media, former education minister and Congress legislator Tanveer Sait said, “I have information that the Karnataka CM couldn't attend the Tipu Jayanti celebrations due to health issues. Deputy CM G Parameshwara was also absent and somewhere it seems like it's an insult to the community. There's no doubt about it.”
The Chief Minister's Office (CMO), however, issued a statement on Kumaraswamy's absence. Wishing success for Tipu Jayanti celebrations, the JD(S) leader said Tipu's progressive measures in administration and his quest for innovation were "commendable".
This was the first Tipu Jayanti celebration after the Kumaraswamy-led Congress-JD(S) coalition government came to power in the state.
While former prime minister HD Deve Gowda tried to manage the difference of opinions among the party cadre, the reaction of Sait — a legislator from Narasimharaja constituency of Mysore city and a party loyalist — came as a shocker for the coalition partners.
On Saturday morning, Deve Gowda had said that Kumaraswamy was resting for three days on doctor’s advice and was not opposing the celebrations, but the “BJP is using the occasion for political gains as it wants to polarise votes”.
Parameshwara was supposed to preside over the government function to mark the day at the Vidhan Soudha, but cancelled the programme in the end. Later, the coalition partners decided to ask Basavaraj Horatti, Vidhan Parishad Speaker, to head the event.
In the end, Water Resource Minister and Congress troubleshooter DK Shivakumar presided over the celebrations.
In 2015, when the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government started Tipu Jayanti celebrations, controlling the mob in parts of Mysore, Kodagu and Mangalore was a major challenge. During the protests, a man named Kuttappa had died after falling from an under-construction building. The tense situation could only be brought under control after two days.