Ashwath Narayan invoking Tipu while targeting Siddaramaiah sparks controversy

PTI, Feb 16, 2023, 1:52 PM IST

Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Thursday accused Karnataka Minister C N Ashwath Narayan of trying to ‘instigate’ people to kill him as he took exception to the latter’s statement that he should be ”knocked out and sent off” like the 18th century ruler of erstwhile Mysuru Kingdom, Tipu Sultan.

He urged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to immediately initiate action against Narayan by sacking him from the cabinet.

The Leader of Opposition in the state assembly was referring to Narayan’s recent remark in Mandya while targeting him.

”Tipu’s son Siddaramaiah will come…. Do you want Tipu or Savarkar? Where should we send Tipu Sultan? What did Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda do? In the same way he should be knocked out and sent off,” Narayan had said.

A section in the old Mysuru belt claims that Tipu did not die fighting the British, but was killed by two Vokkaliga chieftains Uri Gowda and Nanje Gowda, which has been disputed by some historians.

Narayan on his part said, his statement was not personally directed at Siddaramaiah and in case the Congress legislature party leader is hurt, he will express regret. He also clarified that he only meant defeating electorally and not causing any physical harm, as being misinterpreted.

”Higher Education Minister Ashwath Narayan has appealed to people to kill me the way Tipu was killed. Ashwath Narayan, Why are you trying to instigate people? Get the gun yourself,” Siddaramaiah said.

Expressing surprise that no action has been taken against the minister who has openly appealed people to kill, the former CM in a series of tweets said this shows that Bommai, Home minister Araga Jnanendra and their ”incompetent cabinet is sleeping and is in agreement with Ashwath Narayan”.

Has Gujarat BJP culture crept into Karnataka BJP as well? he asked while seeking to know whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain silent even now just as he was in 2002 (Gujarat riots). ”Kannadigas will never let Karnataka to become like Gujarat.” Urging Bommai to immediately sack Narayan from the cabinet and arrest him, Siddaramaiah said, ”If no action is taken, it only means that BJP is in agreement with the appeal or they think Ashwath Narayan has become ‘Mentally Unstable”.

With his statement snowballing into a controversy, eliciting sharp reaction from opposition party leaders, especially the Congress, Narayan said attempts are being made to present his statement by misinterpreting it.

”People will not accept such things. He (Siddaramaiah) is the one who compared the Chief Minister to a puppy, called state BJP President a joker, Prime Minister Modi as narahanthaka (mass murderer)… I have never tried to divide the society like him in the name of religion and caste. I only meant defeating him in the election through votes and not personal comment or causing any harm to him physically,” he added.

Addressing reporters in Hubballi, Siddaramaiah said, ”Narayan has no business to continue as a Minister, I request the Governor to dismiss him from the cabinet.” He was responding to a query regarding Narayan’s regret.

Claiming that the intention is to polarise votes as they (BJP) fear losing election, Siddaramaiah said, ”I will not file any complaint, but it is a fit case in which police have to take suo moto action against Ashwath Narayan.”

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