Chief minister Siddaramaiah joined this with his decision to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan. His decision to ask the department of minorities to oversee the celebrations lent credence to the charge that he was doing this with an eye on minority votes. “It’s no secret that parties leave no stone unturned to appease members of particular castes -by giving tickets to certain communities to contest polls and giving them prominence in ministries. Now, they’re going the extra yard to observe birth anniversaries of their heroes, not realizing they’re disrespecting them,” said political analyst Sandeep Shastri.
The previous BJP government led by BS Yeddyurappa declared holidays to mark Valmiki and Kanakadasa Jayantis and ear marked a special grant of Rs 50,000 for celebrating Basava Jayanti and Ambedkar Jayantis as the BJP’s bid to woo OBCs, Dalits and Lingayats.
Siddaramaiah is continuing this trend.After celebrating Sri Krishna Janmashtami for the first time in September to keep his promise to Yadava (Golla) community leaders, Siddaramaiah announced that the government will organise Vishwakarma Jayanti from next year. This community has a population of 35 lakh in the state.
Soon after becoming CM, Siddaramaiah also announced state festivals for Bhagiratha to respect the sentiments of Bestas (fishermen community) and Devara Dasimayya, the hero of the Nekaara (weavers) community . Shastri said jayanthis in fact devalue historical figures by identifying them with a particular caste and limiting them to a single day .
A senior JDS leader said, “What was the need to start such an event when there were concerns over highly vitiated atmosphere prevailing in the country following the Kalburgi and Dadri killings? It just shows they had an agenda.” Siddaramaiah’s supporters defended his move. “The government did not do it on its own. There were several petitions from organisations requesting the government to celebrate Tipu Jayanti,” they said.