God as witness as Kumaraswamy battles YeddyurappaJune 27th, 2011 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS
Dharmasthala (Karnataka), June 27 (IANS) An 800-year-old temple turned into a political battleground Monday with Janata Dal-Secular leader H.D. Kumaraswamy declaring before the deity that Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had “tried to buy my silence” to stop further exposes on graft.
“I repeated in front of Lord Manjunatha what I have been saying since June 14 — that Yeddyurappa offered money and do whatever work I wanted if I agreed not to release any more documents on corruption by him and his family,” Kumaraswamy told reporters in this temple town, about 300 km from Bangalore.
“I repeated ‘it is true’ thrice and also prayed to Lord Manjunatha to give wisdom to Yeddyurappa not to involve religious places to settle political issues,” said the JD-S leader, who undertook the ‘aane-pramana’ (swearing in the name of god) after being challenged to do so by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief minister.
Yeddyurappa, however, did not go in for ‘aane-pramana’ as he was told to desist from dragging religious places into political battles by his party president Nitin Gadkari.
Yeddyurappa came to the temple ahead of Kumaraswamy, prayed and left after telling reporters: “I have not sought anything from the Lord and only his blessings for the welfare of the state.”
The temple town, a major pilgrim centre, saw unprecedented scenes of slogan shouting in favour and against the two leaders by their supporters.
A group of farmers also staged a protest “condemning Yeddyurappa for turning a holy place into political turf”.
Scores of devotees to the temple complained that they had to wait in pouring rain because of this “childish acts of our political leaders”.
“We had to wait for about an hour in heavy rain to get into the temple. Why cannot these leaders settle their political battles elsewhere?” asked an angry S. Suma, a 45-year-old housewife, who had come with a group of relatives from Mysore to pray at the temple.
The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva, the priests are followers of Lord Vishnu and the temple guardian is Jain by faith.