'Will take final call on truth test on June 26'

Bangalore: After boldly challenging JDS leader HD Kumaraswamy to take the "truth test" before a deity to prove his peace bid allegation, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Wednesday appeared to have softened his stand on the proposed temple face-off.

Yeddyurappa told reporters here that on June 27 (the date fixed for the truth test by the two), he would offer prayers at Dharmasthala and proceed to participate in inauguration of development works at the nearby Kukke Subramanya temple.

He said religious leaders had written to him and advised him (to drop the plan) on the issue and he had tremendous respect for them. Yeddyurappa said he would take a "final decision" (on the truth test) on the evening of June 26.

The entire episode started unfolding on June 16 when Kumaraswamy, a former Chief Minister, alleged that Yeddyurappa had sought to buy his silence by offering inducements in terms of money and future coalition, among others.

Hitting back, Yeddyurappa placed newspaper advertisements last Saturday challenging Kumaraswamy to come to the famous pilgrim town of Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district, where both of them can meet and take an oath in front of Lord Manjunatha Swami.

"If you have the courage to stick to your allegations in front of the Almighty, I will appreciate your courage. I am even ready to take a pledge before God that all allegations made by you are completely baseless", Yeddyurappa had said.

The Chief Minister's camp, led by Home Minister R Ashoka, fixed June 27 for the "truth test" and it was accepted in no time by Kumaraswamy, a Lok Sabha member who is also JDS Karnataka unit President. Kumaraswamy has stuck to his position since then.