President Kovind calls Tipu Sultan a hero who fought British, BJP flares

Chandre Gowda Jagadish Shettar and R. Ashok wearing the Tipu turban at a function a few years ago

At a time when the BJP is up in arms against the Karnataka Government on "Tipu Jayanthi" celebration, President Ram Nath Kovind's reference to Tipu Sultan in an address to the joint session of the State legislature on Wednesday came as a morale booster to the Congress government. He commented that Tipu had died a historic death fighting British.

"He was also a pioneer in the development of Mysore rockets (iron-casted rockets for military use)", Kovind said addressing the legislators in the Karnataka Assembly at a joint session to mark the diamond jubilee (60th year) celebrations of Vidhan Soudha, the state legislative building.

The BJP leaders in the state said on Saturday they don't want their names to be printed on the invitation cards for the celebrations.

The Karnataka BJP has always been opposing the government's decision to celebrate Tipu Sultan's Jayanti claiming that it is done by the Congress government for the sake of vote bank politics.

"This technology was later adopted by the Europeans", President Kovind said.

The Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government has chose to celebrate 10 November as Tipu Jayanti.

The CM of Karnataka Siddaramaiah welcomed the speech of President Kovind calling it a statesman like address.

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The celebrations have been opposed tooth and nail by the BJP which sees Tipu Sultan as a "religious bigot" and a "brutal killer". He was killed in May 1799 while defending his fort of Srirangapatna against the British forces.

In 2016, Hegde had controversially alleged that Tipu Sultan was "against Kannada language and anti-Hindu".

Tipu Sultan has become a polarising figure in the Karantaka.

To this, Hegde retorted: "If the government prints my name on the invitation card, I'll attend the function and raise slogans from the dais against Tipu".

The Congress, however, shot back at the BJP's allegation with its state working president Dinesh Gundu Rao asserting that the saffron party should be "ashamed" about dragging the President into a controversy. Hegde had then taken to Twitter to publicise his move and dubbed Tipu as a "a brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist".

He said "by trying to say that president has just read out a speech written by somebody, they are insulting the office of the president and the president".

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