Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda used unparliamentary language on Sunday to make a personal attack against Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who hit back at the Janata Dal-Secular supreme, saying that he had "lost his mental balance."
Gowda's remarks targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party leader came over the controversial Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Project, promoted by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise during a farmers stir against NICE at Hemmigepura village near Bengaluru, in which he is taking part, "to demand justice" for them.
"Who is this Yeddyurappa? Bas***d! Who the hell does Yeddyurappa think he is? Does he have any shame? This is the man who hid behind Shobha Karandlaje to save himself. He said he will resign from BJP and join JD-S to become a minister. What is this nonsense," a fuming Gowda quipped.
Karandlaje, who is considered close to the chief minister, resigned at the peak of the crisis in the BJP government late last year.
"He can go to any extent for the sake of money. My father did not give me birth to resort to such cheap actions like Yeddyurappa," said Gowda, who lost his cool at the mention of the chief minister's name.
Gowda's remark came in response to a question by a newsman asking for his comments to the chief minister calling the infrastructure project a brainchild of the former premier.
Reacting to Gowda's outburst, Yeddyurappa said, "I am deeply hurt" and added that the JD-S chief was "desperate" to hit out at him" and was therefore "using such words".
"He has lost his mental balance," the chief minister said.
As his remarks drew flak, Gowda did a somersault denying that his angry words were targetted at Yeddyurappa.
In an apparent damage control exercise, Gowda clarified telling a regional television channel, "If they (his remarks) have hurt Yeddyurappa, I express my regret."
"I am born to save farmers", said Gowda, who has been up in arms against NICE and also the state government for allegedly helping the firm "deviate laws" in the project.
People of Hemmigepura have been agitating, demanding that NICE build a bridge across the road in the wake of a recent accident involving a school bus.
Speaking to media persons, Yeddyurappa said he had the greatest respect for Gowda and did not expect such language from him. He said he would not stoop to using such "foul language" and would continue maintaining the dignity of his post.
"The people of Karnataka are watching all (this)," he said, adding he would reply at an appropriate time. The chief minister also said Gowda's comments also reflected his culture.
Gowda's vitriol against Yeddyurappa triggered a sharp reaction from BJP, with its state unit chief Sadananda Gowda demanding an apology from the JD-S chief and saying the party would contemplate legal action.
"No one would expect such behaviour from a person who had held the post of prime minister," he said.
Karnataka Advocate General Ashok Haranhally appeared to indicate that he was being personally targeted.
"I am really taken aback. I don't know how to respond". He said the attack, coming from a former premier, was "very very unfortunate". Haranhally, who was also flayed by Gowda by accusing him of submitting a false affidavit on the NICE project in court, said that as an advocate general, he was duty bound to advise the government to comply by the Supreme Court direction.
"Though people were free to criticise, this is not the way to do it," he said, referring to personal accusations. "It posed a serious danger to democratic set up," he added.