Yeddyurappa invoked Akka Mahadevi’s vachanas (poetic works of the 12th century): “If you build a house near the forest, why fear the animals? If you build a house near the sea, why fear the waves? If you build a house in a public place, why fear the noise? If you are in public life, why fear criticism? I think some vachanas were written keeping me in mind.”
Reacting to the clapping his recitation evoked, he said: “Did I say anything wrong? Can’t I speak the truth about what people are trying to do to me? I am not afraid of criticism. People are trying to make a cheat out of an honest man like me.”
“My dharma has never been to cheat, but honest people like me are being projected as cheats,” Yeddyurappa said. He then turned his ire on former Lokayukta Santosh N Hegde. “When I went to jail, no one debated it. But when the court gave me a clean chit, Hegde ran to TV channels to debate the order. It was as if people were trying to send me back to jail.”
“Is it wrong to be born a Veerashaiva? I am sure Basavanna (saint and philosopher) will help me see good days.” he said. The 20-minute outburst left the chief minister, housing minister V Somanna and others stunned. Soon after finishing his speech, Yeddyurappa made a hasty exit.
Sressing on Basavanna’s principles, Gowda said: “Individual pursuits should be part of the social pursuit. There should be no quarrel among people. Walls of mistrust have to be broken, there should be sharing, and the world should be a peaceful place to live in.”
He quoted poet G S Shivarudrappa: “A lamp need not light up the entire world. If it can give enough light to enable me and you to see each other, that’s enough. We can then walk together.”
Later, speaking to reporters outside Ravindra Kalakshetra, the CM made an oblique reference to Yeddyurappa: “Everybody should focus on building social strength, not just individual strength.”
The strain in the relationship was evident even before the programme began. Gowda draped a shawl around Channaveera Kanavi, and gestured to Yeddyurappa to garland the poet. But the former CM stepped back and asked minister Basavaraj Bommai to garland Kanavi instead.
Yeddyurappa sat with anger all over his face. When the Suttur seer, seated between them, left to attend another function, Yeddyurappa and Gowda didn’t even look at each other.