New Delhi: The protests over Tipu Sultan that has echoed across Karnataka and marred the political scenario of the state over the last two years has now reached the national capital after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal unveiled the portrait of the 18th century ruler, in the Delhi Assembly on Friday.
The statue of Tipu Sultan was unveiled along with 69 others eminent personalities including freedom fighters, revolutionaries and heroes on the 69th Republic Day.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposed inclusion of Tipu Sultan's portrait among others which were unveiled by the Delhi CM at the gallery of the Delhi Assembly.
BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma said the Delhi Assembly should refrain from putting up a portrait of a "controversial personality".
BJP-SAD MLA from Rajouri Garden in Delhi Manjinder Singh Sirsa told The Indian Express that the government could have instead included the portrait of someone who had contributed to Delhi and its history. He said, “I asked them (AAP), why include someone who is this controversial? Why not include people who are from Delhi? Why put someone’s portrait in the Delhi Assembly, who has not contributed in any way to Delhi or its history?”
Meanwhile, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel said the BJP leaders were "always trying to create a controversy" and that they should focus on "politics of development" instead of indulging in "cheap politics".
Goel said, "Now, they are opposing inclusion of Tipu Sultan’s portrait in the gallery. I want to tell them that the Constitution also carries a picture of Tipu Sultan on page 144. So either the people who fought the British to free the country and wrote this Constitution were gaddar (traitors) or they (the BJP) are one… They should leave this cheap politics and do politics of development."
Addressing the gathering during the unveiling, Kejriwal said an atmosphere of violence is being created everywhere, making it tough for people to lead a normal life. “Opening more schools and hospitals to provide better education and healthcare facilities, bridging the gap between the rich and the poor, developing infrastructure is real patriotism,” the Delhi chief minister said.
AAP also blamed the BJP for not being able to suggest the names of freedom fighters from their own party or from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) instead.
AAP MLA and spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said, "We asked the BJP and their MLAs to suggest names from either their party or the RSS who had worked for the freedom struggle. But they couldn’t come up with any."
The controversy over Tipu Sultan started when the Congress government in Karnataka decided to start celebrating the birth anniversary of the ruler in 2015. Two people were killed in the protests in the state organised by various groups at Kodagu, a BJP stronghold 250 km from Bengaluru. The celebrations of Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary were peaceful in the following two years due to elaborate security arrangements, but last year the issue again turned into a political slug fest between the Congress and the BJP in the state which will go to polls this year.
While various leaders of the BJP have described Tipu Sultan as "anti-hindu" and a "mass murderer", the Congress believes he was a freedom fighter who took on the British and deserves to be counted among the great rulers of the country.
The portraits include those of freedom fighters like Subhas Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Birsa Munda and Ashfaqulla Khan. The portraits come with a description of the personalities in brief and their contribution toward the nation....