Bengaluru: It was former chief minister Siddaramaiah's show all the way, with Muslim leaders who felicitated him on the occasion of Tipu Jayanti at his residence, conferring the title “Tiger of Karnataka” on him on Saturday.
Minority welfare minister, B. Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, who led the delegation of Muslim leaders, felicitated him by offering a silver wword, a garland and headgear resembling Tipu Sultan's crown.
Those who gathered at Mr Siddaramaiah's residence mostly comprised Mr Khan's supporters and raised slogans - Victory to Tiger of Karnataka.
Replying to felicitations, Mr Siddaramaiah slammed BJP leaders for describing him a “bigot”. "How can I be termed a bigot? It was me who took the initiative to launch 13 Jayanti's including Tipu Jayanti. As many as 13 Jayantis - Ambigara Chowdaiah, Kittur Rani Chennamma, Kempe Gowda, Vemana, Hemaraddi Mallamma, Shri Krishna, Naryana Guru, Devera Dasimaiah, Hadapada Appanna, Madiwala Machideva - were introduced by my government,” was his retort.
According to him, those trying to portray him as bigot must read history in the right context.
“It was Tipu Sultan who protected Sringeri Sharadamaba peetha, Ranganatha Swami Temple in Srirangapattana and there are several other such instances one would find in History. This should be taken into account while commenting on Tipu Sultan," he added.
Invoking Kuvempu's famous lines - Karnataka land of peace and harmony -, Mr Siddaramaiah said: "I am firm believer of Kuvempu's lines from his poem which is also our state anthem. I will continue to be a Hindu, who will see everyone in equal terms and do not want to view the society through BJP's communal prism," he added.
It was the Siddaramaiah-led government which launched Tipu Jayanti celebrations but the move triggered protests in various parts, and claimed the life of VHP leader Kuttappa in Kodagu district.
The absence of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and deputy chief minister Dr G Parameshwar has upset several Congress leaders, in particular those belonging to Muslim community. These leaders vent their ire as the absence of two top leaders of the coalition government would send a wrong signal among voters in their community....