A day after Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa "agreed" to step down after being named in a lokayukta report on illegal mining, MLAs loyal to him created the picture of a mini-rebellion to demand his continuance.
But sources close to the developments in Karnataka said Friday's 'rebellion' was actually a show of strength by Yeddyurappa loyalists to ensure that someone close to him becomes the next chief minister.
Yeddyurappa is also believed to be angling for the state BJP president's post after stepping down on July 31. But there was also talk of him seeking more time. But the party's central leaders appeared in no mood to grant him any extension beyond the current deadline.
Hordes of BJP MLAs greeted the party's central observers Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh when they arrived at Yeddyurappa's residence to discuss his replacement.
Sources said 75 MLAs, 14 MPs and 19 MLCs were backing Yeddyurappa. The BJP has 121 MLAs in a House of 224.
"Hopefully, things will be sorted out by Saturday evening," said a senior BJP leader.
A loyalist told HT the show of strength was necessitated by reports of BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar — a known Yeddyurappa baiter — being in the running for the CM's post.
"A majority of MLAs, MLCs and Lok Sabha members are with Yeddyurappa. Yeddyurappa is our leader," PTI quoted loyalist MLA and minister MP Renukacharya as saying. "We appeal to the central leaders to continue with Yeddyurappa".