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A no-show:Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa (left) and the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy along with their close aides coming out of the Manjunatheswara temple at Dharmasthala on Monday.
DHARMASTHALA: This famous temple town witnessed a slogan-shouting match between the supporters of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and those of the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, even as the two leaders refrained from the much-hyped oath-taking on Monday, amid heavy rain.
The political battle between the two hit the streets at this pilgrimage centre, as a group of workers shouting slogans against the Chief Minister even used some unparliamentary words.
Both Mr. Yeddyurappa and Mr. Kumaraswamy visited the Manjunatheswara temple along with some of their close followers. Their visit followed a challenge which the Chief Minister made inviting Mr. Kumaraswamy to repeat his allegations against him before the deity. A lot of heat was generated with Mr. Kumaraswamy accepting the challenge, but Mr. Yeddyurappa subsequently withdrew from taking oath quoting saner counsel. The controversy revolved around the statement by Mr. Kumaraswamy that Mr. Yeddyurappa had sought political rapprochement with him through an emissary.
When Mr. Yeddyurappa visited the temple, a group of people shouted slogans against him while another set of people shouted pro-Yeddyurappa slogans.
Anti-Yeddyurappa slogans were heard when Mr. Kumaraswamy arrived at the temple more than two and a half hours after the Chief Minister left the temple.
The Chief Minister arrived at the Sannidhi Guesthouse in the town at 6.45 a.m. from Bangalore. He came to the temple in a bus at 9.10 a.m. with some of his Cabinet colleagues and party MLAs in tow. He left the temple after spending about 20 minutes inside it.
The former Chief Minister, who was staying at Shantivana, about 2 km from the temple, arrived at the temple at about 12.15 p.m. in a car after Mr. Yedyurappa left for Kukke Subramanya. He spent about half an hour inside the temple.
Other devotees and mediapersons were not allowed to enter the precincts of the temple during the two political leaders' visit.
After coming out of the temple, the Chief Minister read out a written statement to media saying he was here to have the darshan of Lord Manjunatheswara.
He said that he prayed for all round development of the State.
The Chief Minister claimed that he did not pray for any personal benefit.
“God has been kind to us for the past three years and there have been good rains. I have sought God's blessings for good rains this year as well,'' he said.
Making a brief reference to not taking forward his challenge to Mr. Kumaraswamy he said: “I have acted on the advice given by the heads of Pejawar Math, Siddaganga Math, Suttur Math and Taralabalu Math.” He said that he also respected the advice given by the party president, Nitin Gadkari.
Speaking to media at the same venue Mr. Kumaraswamy said that he stood by the statements he made before media on June 14 on Mr. Yeddyurappa allegedly seeking political rapprochement with him through an emissary. He released a letter dated June 19 written to the Dharmadhikari of Srikshethra Dharmasthala, stating that he had spoken the truth. “It is true, true, true. I stand by it,'' he said in the letter.
Mr. Kumaraswamy alleged that Mr. Yeddyurappa had run away from the challenge. At one point, he described the recent developments over the challenge and Monday's visits as a “polticial drama”. Police had tightened security in front of the temple when the Chief Minister visited the temple.
It was free for all when Mr. Kumaraswamy visited it. People jostled to reach him when he arrived out of the temple to address the media.
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