Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday called Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah a tourist who was making a “desperate attempts” to communalise the state before the Assembly elections. The state is scheduled to go to polls early 2018.

“Election is coming! It brings tourists like @AmitShah who display ignorance about our state & call #KannadaRajyotsava as ‘Karnatak Mahotsav’,” the chief minister said on Twitter.

On Thursday, Shah, while flagging off a 75-day state-wide yatra, criticised the Congress government in Karnataka for planning Tipu Jayanti celebrations, PTI reported. Shah accused the Siddaramaiah government of practising “vote bank politics”.

“Wednesday was November 1. It was Karnataka’s formation day. Karnataka Mahotsav (Rajyotsava) celebrations had to happen with grandeur,” Shah said. “But Siddaramaiah government had no interest in Karnataka Mahotsava, they are more enthusiastic towards celebrating Tipu Jayanti on November 10,” he said.

On Friday, Siddaramaiah responded on Twitter: “We celebrate birthdays of 26 leaders & builders of #NavaKarnataka. @AmitShah in a desperate attempt to communalise, picks on Tipu Jayanthi.”

The Congress-led Karnataka government has decided to commemorate the birth anniversary of the 18th century ruler of the Mysore kingdom, despite severe criticism from the BJP.

Last week, President Ram Nath Kovind, while addressing the Karnataka Assembly, said Tipu Sultan “died a historic death” fighting the British. Soon after, the BJP claimed the Congress “scripted” the President’s speech and “misused his office”.