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Ram Nath Kovind Hails Tipu Sultan, BJP Accuses Congress of Manipulating President’s Speech

Bengaluru, Oct 25: Amid the raging debate on Tipu Sultan’s legacy, President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday hailed the erstwhile Mysore ruler, saying he died a heroic death fighting the British. While the Congress welcomed Ram Nath Kovind’s remarks, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the grand old party of manipulating President’s speech on Tipu Sultan.

Addressing the joint session of Karnataka legislature on the occasion of the diamond jubilee of the iconic Vidhana Souda, President Ram Nath Kovind said, “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.” The Congress members, present in the House, thumped the tables in approval as President Kovind made these remarks.

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Caught on the backfoot after this speech, the BJP alleged that the Congress manipulated President’ address on Tipu Sultan. “Such speeches for the President are usually written by the State government. He was merely mouthing it. This does not mean we will call off our agitations against Tipu Jayanthi,” R Ashok, BJP MLA, and a former home minister, was quoted as saying.

The Congress, on the other hand, said the BJP should be “ashamed” for levelling this charge. Karnataka Congress Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao 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.” Suggesting that the speech was prepared by the President’s office after collecting inputs from various sources, Rao said, “…such allegations show the state of mind the BJP leaders are in.”

While the Congress government is all set to celebrate ‘Tipu Jayanti’, the celebrations have been opposed tooth and nail by the BJP which sees Tipu Sultan as a “religious bigot” and a “brutal killer”. The opposition party has also threatened to launch major protests on November 10 if the state decides to go ahead with the celebrations.

Recently, Union minister Anantkumar Hegde kicked up a row after he requested the Karnataka government not to include his name in programme invitations for Tipu Jayanti celebrations. “(I have) conveyed (to) Karnataka government not to invite me to shameful event of glorifying a person known as brutal killer, wretched fanatic and mass rapist,” Hegde had said in a tweet.

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