The Unchaste Haste of Siddaramaiah over President Kovind’s Speech

It never gets old or boring. Or does it? The phenomenon explained best by a Kannada proverb which basically means, no matter how high the vulture flies its eyes are always on the….you can fill in the rest.

And so it is that on the solemn occasion of celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the magnificently grandiose Vidhana Soudha, its current Chief inhabitant and his party indulged in the only thing it has perfected: playing communal politics.

Vidhana Soudha. Image Source: Google Image Search

The Vidhana Soudha, which houses the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, deservedly evokes a gush of pride in and is close to the heart of Bangaloreans. When President Ramnath Kovind made the celebratory speech amid its hallowed walls, all that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his party members could detect in it was the former’s line of praise for the ultra-Jihadi mass-murderer and temple-destroyer Tipu Sultan, the Tyrant of Mysore.

Congress members thumped the desks in appreciation as the President mentioned Tipu’s name, much to the embarrassment of the BJP members present in the Assembly. (Firstpost)

But the Honourable President also said this in his speech (full text):

Karnataka has been known through history for spiritualism as much as science, for its farmers as much as its technologists. Its contribution to the intellectual and cultural — and ultimately democratic — heritage of our country has been enormous.
This is a land with ancient Jain and Buddhist traditions. Adi Shankaracharya founded the math in Sringeri in this very state. Gulbarga is a centre of Sufi culture. The reformist Lingayat movement under spiritual leaders such as Basavacharya was also located in Karnataka. In their own way, each of these currents has contributed to nation building.
Karnataka is a land of formidable soldiers. Krishnadeva Raya was the greatest ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, and remains an inspiration for all Indians. Kempe Gowda was the founder of Bengaluru. Rani Chennamma of Kittur and Rani Abbakka led among the earliest battles against colonial powers.
Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by the Europeans.
More recently, two of our finest army chiefs — Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya — were sons of Karnataka.
This is also the seat of education, technology and science. The engineer-statesman M. Visvesvaraya was a builder of modern Karnataka and of modern India. He was responsible for major irrigation projects that continue to help farmers to this day.

Indeed, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his party folks’ ugly celebration by selectively cherry-picking from a slip up in the President’s speech reveals more about them.

While successive Congress governments in Karnataka were following the disgraceful but tried-and-tested caste and communal division template complete with Muslim appeasement, they didn’t celebrate Jihadi Tipu this brazenly — using taxpayer money to institute a festival of sorts. The complete unholy credit for this goes only to Siddaramaiah for whom Jihadi Tipu remains just a Muslim-vote magnet. First and last.

As in Punjab so in Karnataka where it is Siddaramaiah Congress, not Sonia or Rahul Gandhi Congress.

The other key reason to trump up Jihadi Tipu using the full Government machinery is rather simple: the Congress in Karnataka simply has no icons whose legacy it can appropriate: be they Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other community. And without icons, doling out freebies etc won’t gather too many Muslim votes: the Congress already has a fierce competitor for the Muslim vote in the form of former Prime Minister Deve Gowda’s family enterprise, Janata Dal (Secular).

It’s therefore unsurprising that Congress (Siddaramaiah) waits hawk-like for things like the President’s speech: it’s an opportunity to tar the inadvertent with its brand of politicking. The undercurrent in its celebratory glee betrays the well-recorded fact that it holds nothing sacrosanct, treating the President, the Head of State as if he’s the President of the BJP.

Speaking of Presidents, one immediately recalls this legendary cartoon by the talented Abu Abraham:

Cartoon mocking former President Fakruddin Ali Ahmed signing the Emergency Ordinance from his bathtub. Image Source: Google Image Search

It’s indisputable that former President Fakruddin Ali Ahmed has set a standard that nobody can aspire for much less match. But then there’s no harm in trying. Here’s Exhibit Two:

…(Will) gladly sweep the ground that Indiraji walked upon.” From Zail Singh, after it was certain that he would become president. Later, during his tenure as president, Zail Singh had once stepped forward to open the door of Indira Gandhi’s official vehicle. (1982)

Or the more recent carrier of that legacy in the form of former President, Smt Pratibha Patil who apparently cooked her way to the Presidency, which is widely condemned as disastrous.

So Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is pretty much consistently following his own party’s long precedent of disrespecting and weakening democratic institutions by treating a dignified occasion to take cheap political potshots.

But then, President Kovind’s praise of Tipu doesn’t alter the truth about this Jihadi mass-murderer’s barbaric record etched indelibly in the thousands of temples he destroyed, the letters he wrote inviting foreign Muslim powers to invade and make India an Islamic nation, and the hundreds of thousands of Hindus he tortured, killed, and converted in his wanton spree of unprovoked brutality across South India. I don’t wish to make sound it like a plug but I’ve captured this cruel legacy in all its gory detail in my book, Tipu Sultan: The Tyrant of Mysore.

Nor does the Honourable President’s note on Tipu vindicate Siddaramaiah’s openly communal politics in the name of Jihadi Tipu. If anything, it has only further exposed it.