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As the polls approach, Karnataka politicians are reaching back to historical figures to record their victories

If statues can make a strong political statement, then Karnataka’s politicians certainly use them to their advantage.

Prime Minister Basavaraj Bommai is set to unveil the statue of freedom hero Kedambadi Ramayya Gowda at Bavutagudde in Mangaluru on November 19 amid calls from Congress leaders to install a likeness of 18th-century Mysuru ruler Tipu Sultan, whom they claiming that he was also a “freedom fighter”. fighter” who died fighting the British.

Kedambadi Ramayya Gowda is said to have led the first revolution against the British in 1837, even before the famous 1857 uprising.

The Amara Sullia Rebellion, also known as the Kodagu-Canara Mutiny, arose from Gowda’s move to oppose the payment of tax in cash to the British. He began a tour of the region to motivate and gain support from other Indian rulers to join his rebellion against the settlers.

This rebellion broke out in 1830-1831 around the southern coastal strip of Karnataka and reached the stage of a war in 1837 between Gowda’s army and the British. Gowda’s army successfully defeated the settlers and they lowered the British flag to raise the flag of the Kodagu Haleri dynasty at Bavutagudda on April 5, 1837.

Mangaluru South MLA Vedavyas Kamath said it was important to highlight the contribution of Kedambadi Ramayya Gowda.

“It was made by sculptors in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, and the inauguration of the statue of this great freedom fighter, who led the first major uprising against the British, will be a grand affair,” said Kamath, who also mentioned that the event is timed along with the national celebrations of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

On November 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the ‘Statue of Prosperity’, a 35-meter tall bronze figure of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda who founded Bengaluru. This usurpation of Kempegowda comes against the background of the BJP’s stance against Tipu Sultan, who has called the party “anti-Hindu” and a “tyrant”.

Raising the flag against the BJP’s continued attacks on Tipu, the Congress has maintained that he too was a freedom fighter and is remembered for many technological and administrative innovations during his rule of Mysore state. The BJP has “maligned and distorted” the history of the 18th-century ruler for “political purposes,” according to Congress.

To counter the BJP’s move, Mysuru Congress MLA Tanveer Sait has announced that he will erect a 30-meter statue of Tipu to highlight the contributions of the ‘Tiger of Mysore’.

BJP’s Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha claims that Tipu is neither the Tiger of Mysore nor a sultan.

“He never fought a war in his life, but only ordered his army to do so. He died in a fort and his greatest and most brutal contribution was forced religious conversions and barbaric atrocities against the Hindus,” he said.

However, it should be noted that the recent spate of statue unveiling is also seen through the political prism as a strategic move to lure and appease various communities towards the BJP, especially at a time when Karnataka is heading towards elections.

The unveiling of the statue of Kempegowda, who was a Vokkaliga leader, is seen as the BJP’s strategic move to win over the community that has largely supported the Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (S) and the Congress. The hurling of the statues of poet saints Kanakadasa and Maharishi Valmiki, both highly revered in Karnataka, especially among the Kuruba (OBC) and Valmiki (ST) communities, is another statement of support to these communities that the BJP has been trying hard to imitate. to strive.

(From top to bottom) PM Modi at statues of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda, Maharishi Valmiki and Kanakadasa. Photos/News18

Interestingly, the Bommai government recently announced the implementation of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee report, which increased the reservation for Scheduled Castes from 15 to 17 percent and for Scheduled Tribes from 3 to 7 percent. The Valmiki community will especially benefit from this move.

The BJP continues to try to gain support among the Kurubas, a community to which former Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah belongs. Siddaramaiah is known as the undisputed leader of the AHINDA community. AHINDA is a Kannada political acronym, standing for Alpasankhyataru or Minorities, Hindulidavaru or Backward Classes, and Dalitaru or Dalits.

If the BJP succeeds in winning the group’s support, it will play a key role in the party’s victory in its concerted effort to regain political control of Karnataka.

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