Bengaluru, Nov 10: Noted Kannada playwright-cum-actor Girish Karnad stoked a controversy on Tuesday when he said naming the Bengaluru international airport after 18th century Mysore ruler Tipu Sultan would have been apt than the city's founder Kempe Gowda.
"As Tipu was born at Devanahalli where the new airport has been built and operating, naming it after him would have been appropriate, as he also fought against the British," Karnad said at a function here.
The airport, about 40 km away from the city centre, was named after Kempe Gowda on December 15, 2013 on the recommendation of the then BJP government, with the support of all political parties and social organisations.
Hours after Karnad's remarks at a function held by the state government to commemorate Tipu's 265th birth anniversary, the BJP protested and ruled out renaming the airport.
"Tipu is not a freedom fighter as Kittur Rani Chennamma or Kantiveera Sangoli Rayanna, who fought against the British to protect their kingdom. As Kempe Gowda founded the city in 1537, naming the airport after him is befitting," BJP lawmaker and former home minister R. Ashoka told reporters.