CM, Kumaraswamy will take truth test in divine presence

CM, Kumaraswamy will take truth test in divine presence

Showdown at Dharmasthala

CM, Kumaraswamy will take truth test in divine presence

The long war of words between Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and his bete noire and predecessor H D Kumaraswamy will come to a head on June 27 when both will swear their rectitude at Manjunatha temple in Dharmasthala in an unprecedented face-off in the political annals of Karnataka.

The showdown at the popular shrine in Dakshina Kannada district has been precipitated by Kumaraswamy’s charge that the chief minister had approached him through an intermediary, offering him fin­ancial inducements and political accommodation in return for stopping the relentless barrage of corruption charges that the JD(S) State president has been levelling against the chief minister and his family for many months now.

The chief minister, who has taken time off to undergo rejuvenation therapy at Kottakkal in Kerala, took the unprecedented step of publishing an advertisement in newspapers, refuting Kumar­asw­a­my’s charge and daring him to a “dharmic” duel in the presence of the presiding deity at Dharmasthala on a day and time of his choice.

Kumaraswamy accepted the challenge with alacrity. Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, he said he was ready to be in Dharmasthala on Sunday morning. He said that he had evidence on the BJP having contacted him. Home Minister R Ashoka announced that the chief minister will be at the temple along with his sons on June 27. The JD (S) leader agreed to the date and time, offering to be present at Dharmasthala a day earlier. The minister reiterated the chief minister’s demand in the ad that Kumaraswamy be present at the shrine along with his family.

There could be more twists and turns in the story, with a section of the BJP against the showdown. A few ministers, who were not consulted have been privately critical of the chief minister’s bravado.

When contacted, the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, Dr Veerendra Heggade, said he learnt about the “challenge” only through the media. Though a large number of devotees take pledge before the god at Dharmasthala, there is no history of any person of the chief minister’s level swearing an oath at the temple, Heggade said.

He said arrangements will be made for the showdown between the two political leaders when they come to the temple. Mondays are considered auspicious to have the “darshan” of Manjunatha, another name for deity Shiva.

On Saturday, the high drama unfolded with a section of media carrying a signed advertisement issued by Yeddyurappa titled “An Open Letter to Former Chief Minister Sri H D Kumaraswamy.”

Daring Kumaraswamy to utter at Dharmasthala his allegations that he had tried for a rapproachment by sending a mediator, the chief minister said: “I am compelled to write this open letter challenging you to stick to your stand by taking an oath in front of the Almighty Lord Manjunatha Swamy of Dharmasthala.

“Let us put an end to this sordid drama from your side. I believe in god. I hope you are also a believer of god. There I am throwing you a challenge. You indicate the date and time where both of us can meet at Dharmasthala and take an oath in front of Lord Manjunatha Swamy.”

The chief minister further said, “If you have the courage to stick to your allegations in front of the almighty, I will appreciate your courage. I am ever ready to take a pledge before that all the allegations made by you are completely baseless.

“Hence do not continue your “Hit and Run” tactics of making serious allegations and running away from the scene like a coward,” Yeddyurappa said ending the “open letter” with “warm regards.”

HDK accepts challenge

In a press conference, Kumaraswamy accepted the challenge even as he reiterated his allegations. The response from the chief minister’s camp came five hours later.

“The chief minister will arrive at Dharmasthala on June 27 with his sons. He seeks that Kumaraswamy also bring his family with him. The allegations made against the chief minister are false and baseless,” Ashoka told reporters.

In a quick reaction, the JD (S) leader said: “I am ready to accept the chief minister’s challenge. I will be present at Dharmasthala on June 26 itself. Yeddyurappa did try to buy my silence through his aide by offering inducements in terms of money and future coalitions.”

Kumaraswamy wanted Lehar Singh, MLC and BJP treasurer, who said he said approached him on behalf of Yeddyurappa, to be present at Dharmasthala during the trial of truth. He said he had records to prove that Lehar Singh had spoken to him.

He said Yeddyurappa has developed the habit of taking vows before god and seers. “He took an oath in the name of god that he would not seek a ticket for his son to contest the Shimoga Lok Sabha seat, but did otherwise. He had taken oath in the name of Nanjundeswara and Vaishnovodevi and now it’s Lord Manjunatha,” Kumaraswamy said.

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