Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday stoked controversy when he praised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for remembering Tipu Sultan, the erstwhile king of Mysore, on his death anniversary on May 4, and expressed disappointment over the fact that it took a Pakistani leader to remember a “great Indian hero”.
Imran Khan hailed Tipu Sultan in a tweet on May 4 describing him “as a man I admire because he preferred freedom and died fighting rather than live a life of enslavement”.
“One thing I know about @ImrankhanPTI is that his interest in the shared history of Indian subcontinent is genuine& far-reaching. He reads; he cares. It is disappointing, though, it took a Pakistani leader to remember a great Indian hero on his punyathithi,” Tharoor said responding to Imran’s tweet.
One thing i personally know about @imranKhanPTI is that his interest in the shared history of the Indian subcontinent is genuine & far-reaching. He read; he cares. It is disappointing, though, that it took a Pakistani leader to remember a great Indian hero on his punyathithi. https://t.co/kWIySEQcJM— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) May 6, 2019
Reacting to Tharoor’s tweet, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said the Congress leader’s love for neighbours and hate for Indian leaders was well known. “He uses choicest abuses for our leaders, and he has great love for people across the border. He has to think what he is doing is right or not,” ANI quoted Madhav as saying.
Ram Madhav, BJP on Shashi Tharoor's tweet on Pak PM Imran Khan: His love for the neighbours and hate for our leaders is very well known. He uses choicest abuses for our leaders; and he has great love for people across the border. He has to think what he is doing is right or not. pic.twitter.com/YKZciDDK24— ANI (@ANI) May 7, 2019
In November 2018, the BJP had vociferously protested the Karnataka government’s plans to celebrate the birth anniversary of 18th century ruler Tipu Sultan.
The Congress government had started celebrating Tipu Sultan's birth anniversary in 2015 saying erstwhile ruler of Mysore was a "freedom fighter", who was killed in the 4th Anglo-Mysore war. The HD Kumaraswamy government decided to follow the tradition.
However, the BJP, RSS and other right-wing outfits maintain that Tipu Sultan was a brutal king who persecuted Hindus and Christians in large numbers, especially those who refused to convert to Islam.
The BJP accused the JD-S-Congress government of resorting to gimmicks to appease the Muslim community and wasting public money on the celebrations.