Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers across Karnataka hit the streets on Monday to protest Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief HD Deve Gowda's use of invectives against Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa. Protesters garlanded the former prime minister's portraits with shoes and burnt his effigies.
The JD-S office in north Karnataka's Bidar town, about 700 km from Bangalore, was attacked but no one was hurt as the premises was closed, police said.
Groups of BJP workers held demonstrations in Bangalore, Mysore, Belgaum, Bidar, Chickmagalur and other places, raised slogans against Deve Gowda and beat his portraits with footwear, the ultimate insult.
Gowda Sunday called Yeddyurappa "bloody b..." but expressed regret later. Gowda uttered the profanities responding to questions from reporters while protesting against land acquisition for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Gowda's son, JD-S Karnataka chief and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy Monday said there was no need for the protests as his father had expressed regret for his statement.
Kumaraswamy warned that his partymen would retaliate if the BJP continued with its protests.
A common refrain of BJP leaders condemning Gowda's behaviour was that he had lost mental balance and be sent for medical examination or be admitted in a mental hospital.
Yeddyurappa, who late Sunday said he was hurt by the intemperate language of Gowda, Monday asserted that the former prime minister was bent on creating trouble but he would not fall into the trap by responding in the same manner.
"I will devote my attention to the development of the state. People of the state are aware of what is happening. They will give a befitting reply," he told reporters.
Former BJP Lok Sabha member and now Karnataka special representative at Delhi V. Dhanajaya Kumar, however, said the party was contemplating what action can be taken against Gowda.
The BMIC project has been caught in a controversy over the area of land sought by its promoters Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises. NICE is a consortium with Kalyani Group of Companies, of industrialist Baba Kalyani, leading it.
NICE wants over 20,000 acres for the project, which comprises a four-lane express highway between Bangalore and Mysore, five townships each accommodating a population of 100,000 and several commercial/corporate centres along the 111-km expressway.
The expressway would be a toll road.
The government has handed over around 7,000 acres to NICE even as a legal battle over the land size required is in the Supreme Court.
The BMIC is estimated to cost Rs 2,000 crore (Rs.20 billion) and is to be completed over a period of 13 years.