If the Haj Bhavan in Karnataka has to be named after someone, it should be former President APJ Abdul Kalam rather than Tipu Sultan, Bharatiya Janata Party state chief BS Yeddyurappa said on Sunday. The state’s Minority Welfare Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan had on Friday spoken about the demand to rename Haj Bhavan after the 18th Century Mysuru king.

“There is no need to name Haj Bhavan after Tipu [Sultan],” Yeddyurappa said, according to The New Indian Express. “Zameer is unnecessarily trying to vitiate the social harmony in the state. The Haj Bhavan was built during my tenure as [the] chief minister. It is better to name it after former President APJ Abdul Kalam if the state government is determined to have a name for it.”

Karnataka is a peaceful state, said Yeddyurappa, according to The Hindu. “My advice to the minister is to not disturb the peace prevailing in the state. It was my intention to build Haj Bhavan for benefit thousands of pilgrims. The government gave land and money for construction of the bhavan. It can be left like that.”

Bharatiya Janata Party MLA KG Bopaiah told PTI that communal clashes could break out across the state if the government renames Haj Bhavan after Tipu Sultan.

On Friday, BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan had said he would discuss with Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy the proposal to rename Haj Bhavan as “Hazrat Tipu Sultan Haj Ghar”. He had said officials at a recent Haj committee review meeting had told him there were several requests to rename the Haj Bhavan.

The BJP had opposed the idea, and said the Haj Bhavan was a building for all Muslims and not just for Tipu Sultan’s followers. Party MP Shobha Karandlaje has warned of “a strong protest” across the state if the proposal is accepted.

Tipu Sultan has been at the centre of a political storm in recent years. He died fighting the British in 1799. The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party looks at the ruler in a negative light.