"Why should I resign?" Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa had told waiting reporters at the Delhi airport late Wednesday night.
But it took just about 12 hours for him to move from defiance to submission. He drove to BJP president Nitin Gadkari's Teen Murti Lane house just before midnight on Wednesday flashing the victory sign for cameras, and drove out quietly after 2 am without responding to the waiting media.
The writing on the wall was clear by then.
Gadkari had set aside the CM's defence that the Lokayukta report was flawed and tersely told him the Parliamentary Board would decide his fate Thursday morning. The hint: he should be ready to quit for the party to wrest advantage from a UPA government battling corruption charges. In other words, the question was political, not technical-legal.
On Thursday morning, the Parliamentary Board meet sealed his fate.
LK Advani, who had opposed his continuation as CM when a clamour for his ouster had been made in November 2010, reportedly backed his removal at the Parliamentary Board meet. Sushma Swaraj, too, was vocal that he be made to step down.
By afternoon, Yeddyurappa cancelled a cabinet meet he had called in Bangalore to discuss the Lokayukta report and conveyed to Gadkari that he was willing to step down. He, however, requested that he be allowed to resign on Sunday — after amavasya that falls on Saturday. He also said he would accept a successor chosen by the party, but reportedly added that the successor should justify the moral position the party had taken.
At the late night meeting on Wednesday — where Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu were also present — Yeddyurappa had come with lawyers, prepared to convince the party that Santosh Hegde's report indicting him had "procedural lapses".
Sources said Yeddyurappa said that the report had nothing about Congress chief ministers who had awarded mining leases; and that it had violated procedure by not serving him notice or seeking his response before indicting him.