Jammu: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who is battling a political crisis, visited the revered cave shrine of Vaishno Devi in Jammu and Kashmir and offered prayers.
Yeddyurappa was at the shrine on Saturday in the Trikuta hills, about 5,500 feet above sea level, for more than an hour. His visit comes after he shed tears publicly for being forced to ditch his close aides - bowing to the demands of his detractors.
Those who he was forced to ditch are his principal secretary, senior Indian Administrative Service officer V.P. Baligar, and his confidante and lone woman minister in the cabinet, Shobha Karnadlaje, who held the rural development and panchayat raj portfolio.
An official said the chief minister offered prayers and sat outside the natural cave for sometime. Later, he walked bare-footed to the helipad, at a distance of 1.5 km, and flew back.
He kept his visit secret. The shrine, which attracts more than 7.5 million pilgrims annually, is also visited by top political leaders.
Former prime minister Indira Gandhi had also visited the shrine. She had climbed the rough track to the shrine in 1979, when she was out of power. And in 1980, she was back in power.
Yeddyurappa has been in the middle of the political crisis since dissidents - mining barons-cum-cabinet ministers G. Karunakara Reddy and G. Janardhana Reddy - have been clamouring for his ouster among other demands.