Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, facing a bid by his predecessor B.S. Yeddyurappa to oust him, arrived in New Delhi Sunday to meet Bharatiya Janata Party leaders to save his government.
Gowda declined to react to Yeddyurappa calling him, at a public function in Bangalore earlier in the day, a "traitor" and comparing him to "the devil quoting the scripture".
He also downplayed the former chief minister complimenting Congress president Sonia Gandhi for defending her party leaders whenever allegations were levelled against them.
Yeddyurappa also slammed his own party saying it used allegations "to trample on its own people".
"I do not think he praised Sonia Gandhi," Gowda, who succeeded Yeddyurappa Aug 4 last year, told reporters on arrival in New Delhi.
Gowda Saturday had taken a dig at Yeddyurappa at a function in Bangalore. Without mentioning him by name, Gowda had made fun of Yeddyurappa's frequent visits to temples and meetings with religious heads.
"In the past people wanted power to do good for the people. Now people do wrong things when in power and then offer donations and gifts to gods thinking they will be forgiven," Gowda said.
Gowda is visiting New Delhi ostensibly to attend the function to mark the 60th anniversary of the first session of parliament.
However, the main purpose of the visit will be to meet BJP leaders to demand that they rein in Yeddyurappa and his supporters, who have been publicly demanding replacement of Gowda for weeks now.
As part of the pressure tactics Yeddyurappa, Saturday secured the resignation of at least seven ministers loyal to him.
Legislators supporting him are claiming that at least 40 of the BJP's 120 legislators in the 225-member Karnataka assembly will also give their resignation letters to Yeddyurappa in the next two days.
Yeddyurappa is flexing muscles as his efforts to regain chief ministership has been thwarted following Friday's Supreme Court order for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into corruption charges against him.
He and his supporters now want to have their own man as chief minister. Though Gowda was handpicked by Yeddyurappa to succeed him, they have now fallen out.
In Bangalore, state BJP chief K.S. Eshwarappa met state Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leaders and also Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar, whom Yeddyurappa and his supporters want to be made chief minister.
Yeddyurappa had earlier opposed Shettar taking over from him as both belong to the politically influential lingayat community. However, he has now joined hands with Shettar to unseat Gowda.
As the factional fight plunged to a new low with Yeddyurappa's attack on Gowda, it has become a virtual free-for-all in the state BJP which completes four years of its maiden rule in Karnataka May 30.
While Yeddyurappa loyalists are claiming that the Gowda government will fall Monday, the chief minister's supporters, including Municipal Administration Minister Balachandra Jarkiholi, are threatening that they will quit the assembly if he is replaced.
Jarkiholi claimed that 61 of the BJP's 120 legislators were with Gowda. He and many of them will quit the assembly to force an election if Gowda was replaced, he has been telling the media.
There is also intense speculation that Yeddyurappa may himself announce Monday that he will quit the assembly and send his and the resignation letters of legislators supporting him to BJP president Nitin Gadkari.