BENGALURU: If perception battle is anything to go by, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s decision to sit out of Tipu Jayanti celebrations — originally initiated by then Siddaramaiah government — is causing more damage to the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in Karnataka, some Congress leaders feel. As if his absence from Valmiki Jayanti celebrations was not enough, Kumaraswamy will now miss Tipu Jayanti celebrations as well, yet again citing health reasons.
Though the Congress is not very pleased, it is compelled to back the Chief Minister giving BJP a freehand to take a jibe at the coalition. The invitation to the event scheduled to be held on Saturday neither features the name of the Chief Minister or any prominent JD(S) leader. Days after parading alliance unity for the five-seat bypolls, Kumaraswamy’s decision to recuse himself from the controversial Tipu Jayanti celebrations has given space for the opposition to take potshots at the coalition government. Analysts believe that there is more than what meets the eye in Kumaraswamy’s firm decision to stay away from celebrations.
“It is a happy constellation of circumstances for Chief Minister, if he didn’t want to participate in the first place that his schedule doesn’t allow him to go. It is either like he wanted to send a specific message to coalition partners or didn’t want to take the ownership for a scheme that his coalition partner introduced,” observed Dr Sandeep Shastri, political scientist who added that any stance that a public figure takes is open to be read between the lines.
While the Congress has officially backed the Chief Minister — who has cited health reasons for skipping the celebrations — many within the party believe that the CM’s decisions are affecting the perception of the coalition. “Skipping Valmiki Jayanti has already sent a wrong perception. It became an election issue. It didn’t have a bearing on the results but it became unnecessary fodder for the press. The damage was done,” observed a minister in the coalition government’s cabinet. With his decision to sit out of Tipu Jayanti celebrations, Kumaraswamy has once again given an opportunity to the opposition and people alike to question the unity and common grounds of the coalition government.
“Kumaraswamy is merely taking his own advice. He had asked us (BJP) to stay at home if we didn’t want to celebrate Tipu Jayanti and now he is staying home,” mocked BJP Spokesperson Malavika Avinash. The saffron party has alleged that the Chief Minister had been playing safe by supporting the celebration to appease minority votes but not being part of celebrations in the fear of inviting the wrath of the people opposed to celebrating Tipu Sultan.