The war of words between the 'guru' and 'shishya' never seems to end. Sadananda Gowda, who became the chief minister of Karnataka with the blessings of BS Yeddyurappa, appears to have fallen out with his mentor.
There has been a flurry of words between the two since the past few days. Gowda has, however, decided to take the matter to another level and has been cozying up to the Lingayat community which had once called Yeddyurappa their undisputed leader.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari will be in Bengaluru on Thursday for a high level meeting of the Karnataka BJP workers. But will issues pertaining to the party be discussed or would it turn out to be another round of 'peace talks' which Gadkari will have to once oversee again?
Ever since Yeddyurappa stepped down as chief minister, several party leaders have attempted to sideline him. However, Yeddyurappa has been adamant and has decided that he would not sit quiet until he is given an important position in the party. He ran a parallel force within the BJP while claiming that he enjoys the support of 60 MLAs.
However, his biggest bulwark was the support that he enjoyed from the Lingayat community. It is well known that the Lingayat community, with its 17 per cent vote share, is a major player in any election in Karnataka. Yeddyurappa, who began every programme with a visit to the Tumkur Siddaganga Mutt, the mother of all Lingayat mutts, had become extremely possessive about the status he enjoyed with this community.
The BJP too was well aware that they needed to deal with Yeddyurappa with kid gloves due to this support.
But today one gets to see a turn of events and there is a deliberate attempt being made by Gowda himself to erode into that support base enjoyed by his mentor.
He started the war of words by calling the former chief minister a 'Narada Muni'. Yeddyurappa retorted by calling Gowda a 'CM by luck'.
Moreover, there has been a coming together of Jagadish Shettar and Gowda in the past couple of months and this has been a worrying factor for Yeddyurappa. Shettar not only is a major leader in the state BJP, but is also a Lingayat.
Yeddyurappa had in fact opposed tooth and nail the selection of Shettar as the chief minister as he knew that the latter would first erode his Lingayat support base.
He did manage to do away that threat and installed Gowda as the chief minister, but today even in his wildest of dreams he did not expect that his boy would turn against him and, worse, try and muster up support of the Lingayat community.
The Lingayat community has, however, not been too vocal about the turn of events. There is a section of the community which still subscribes to Yeddyurappa, but the bigger worry is the deathly silence on part of the Siddaganga Mutt on this issue.
Yeddyurappa was not invited at a recent function at the mutt. The indications of trouble brewing for him were clear. Then there was another programme at Gokak town at Panchamashali convention in which Gowda and state BJP chief KS Eshwarappa were present. Some of the community leaders even took at a dig at Yeddyurappa, blaming him for doing little for the community.
Yeddyurappa may still have the support of this community but he is surely a worried man as the Siddaganga Mutt episode could be a turning point for him. There is in no way that he can take this lightly since this mutt accounts does have control over at least 15 per cent of the 17 per cent Lingayat vote share in Karnataka.
Yeddyurappa has now decided to go on the offensive, and says the attempt to keep the Lingayats away from him is a wasted effort as he still is their undisputed leader.
"Some top leaders are trying to divide the community and I have been told about this, but their attempts will not succeed. The Lingayats have stood by me in tough times and they will not let go of me, but those trying these tricks will leave the party soon," he had said.
There clearly is a big battle on in the Karnataka BJP. The anti-Yeddyurappa faction is of the view that he has been arrogant, adamant and has been running a parallel network within the party.
Shettar and Gowda also feel that Yeddyurappa's daily bickering and pin pricks are getting too overbearing. "He has been very defiant and it is high time he understands that it is very difficult to accommodate him when there are so many pending cases of corruption against him," a senior leader said.
Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, has been stepping up the pressure and will meet Gadkari seeking a more active role in the party. His supporters say that they would appraise Gadkari about how Gowda and the rest are trying to sideline Yeddyurappa.