Hitting back at former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda for using derogatory remarks against him, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday said the JD(S) chief had not only insulted him but also the entire people of the state and asked him to stop “provoking” him.
“Gowda has not only insulted me, but also six crore people of Karnataka. I am hurt by the remarks made against me yesterday,” Mr. Yeddyurappa told reporters here a day after the former Prime Minister’s outburst replete with expletives created a political furore in the state.
Mr. Yeddyurappa said Mr. Gowda was hurling abuses at others “taking advantage of the former prime minister status. He talks lightly about the Chief Minister, the Advocate General.”
In a warning, he said, “I can also make similar caustic remarks. But I won’t do that. Let him stop provoking me.” Mr. Yeddyurappa, however, ruled out any legal action against the JD(S) chief, remarking sarcastically: “Gowda himself is a legal expert. What legal action can I take“.
“Gowda has the capacity to project a falsehood as truth. He is trying to mislead farmers. But he will not succeed”, Mr. Yeddyurappa said taking a swipe at Mr. Gowda’s charge that excess land was being granted to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE).
Mr. Gowda made the remarks over the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Project, promoted by NICE, during a farmers’ stir against NICE at Hemmigepura village near here.
Accusing the JD(S) of trying to create trouble in the state and provoking farmers to bring a bad name to the BJP government, Mr. Yeddyurappa charged Mr. Gowda of “shedding crocodile tears” for farmers all of a sudden and ridiculed him for joining the stir.
The land allotment had been done as per the framework agreement and verdicts of courts, he asserted. After the BJP government came to power, it had notified only 3.1 acres of land at Gottigere tank near Kengeri on the city outskirts for the project, he said.
Shortly after his remarks evoked a sharp reaction from the BJP and other quarters, Mr. Gowda went into damage control mode telling a regional TV channel, “If they (his remarks) have hurt Yeddyurappa, I express my regret.” Mr. Gowda had also targeted Karnataka Advocate General Ashok Haranhally and accused him of submitting a false affidavit on the NICE project in court.
The state unit of the BJP sought to step up pressure on Mr. Gowda to tender an apology for the “derogatory” outbursts. BJP workers held a dharna at the busy Basaweshwara circle near Vidhan Soudha, the state secretariat, on Monday morning and chanted anti-Gowda slogans.
BJP leader D B Chandre Gowda told reporters that the former Prime Minister’s remarks amount to an insult to the entire state and the people and that he tender an apology.
The JD(S), meanwhile, set Tuesday as the deadline for the ruling party to stop its agitations or face counter steps. State president of the JD(S) H D Kumaraswamy, son of Mr. Gowda, asked the BJP to end the stir against his father or face counter protests by his party.
At a press conference here, Kumaraswamy was candid in admitting that he did not approve of the language his father used against Yeddyurpapa, but said “my father has already expressed regrets for it and the party too did so.” “The protests by BJP should end immediately. Otherwise, let them face our protests also. Our workers are also ready,” Kumaraswamy, who had headed the JDS-BJP coalition government, warned.
Accusing Yeddyurappa of trying to “mislead” people by saying that development works in Bangalore were in full swing after the BJP government assumed office, he demanded a white paper on the funds spent by the government from its resources and the amount released by the Centre.