The political crisis in the ruling BJP in Karnataka worsened on Friday as eight ministers loyal to disgruntled former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa put in their papers.
They sent their resignations to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda, who was on tour to several districts and had returned to Bangalore in the evening.
Two more ministers - Shobha Karandlaje and Raju Gowda of the Yeddyurappa camp - are expected to follow suit.
The BJP's national organising secretary, Satish, rushed to Bangalore and had a discussion with Sadananda Gowda.Sources said Satish had conveyed the high command's message to the chief minister that he should take his own decisions and had the leadership's support.
Sadananda Gowda has told the ministers that he will accept their resignations, but take a decision only after consulting the high command. He will meet governor HR Bharadwaj on Saturday to discuss the political situation.
Karnataka BJP president KS Eshwarappa said the chief minister should accept the resignations.
The ministers who quit are chief minister aspirant Jagadish Shettar, Basawaraj Bommai, V Somanna, Renukacharya, CM Udasi, Murugesh NIrani, Umesh Katti and Revu Nayak Belamagi. All of them except Belamagi belong to the powerful Lingayat community, whose central political face is Yeddyurappa.
After resigning, Udasi told the media the chief minister had not conducted a party legislators' meeting and was not listening to the problems of the BJP MLAs.
He has been neglecting leaders in the state and this caused their resignation.
Somanna and Bommai said they would not take back their resignations and it was up to the chief minister to accept them or not.
"There are huge differences among us and the chief minister and the leadership should change. We have not come here to destabilise the BJP but to build the party," they said in a statement.
After submitting resignations, the eight loyalists went to Yeddyurappa's residence. Prior to this, they met at the residence of Jagadish Shettar and gave a deadline of 6 pm to the chief minister and high command to take a decision.
It has been learnt that more than 40 MLAs supporting Yeddyurappa will submit resignations if the high command does not change the leadership.