The political crisis in the ruling BJP in Karnataka on Monday loomed large with rebel leader and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa deciding to take a final call on his future political course by the evening.
"I will consult MPs, MLAs and my supporters today and announce my decision by 4 pm", Yeddyurappa, who has been fuming at BJP central leadership for "ignoring" him, particularly after the Supreme Court order for a CBI probe into illegal mining during his tenure as chief minister, told reporters.
Yeddyurappa, who visited Siddganga mut pontiff Shivakumara Swamiji of the Lingayat community to which he belongs, attacked BJP general secretary HN Anantkumar, state unit chief KS Eshwarappa, chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda and RSS leader Satish.
He accused Anantkumar of "feeding malicious information" about him to BJP leader LK Advani.
"Anantkumar made efforts to topple me from the chief ministership at least thrice earlier with the help of mine owners", Yeddyurappa alleged.
In a damage-control bid, Eshwarappa on Monday ruled out accepting resignations of more than half a dozen MLAs and dropping ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa.
"There is truth in the fact that about more than half a dozen MLAs and ministers have tendered resignation to Yeddyurappa. However, the party will neither accept their resignations nor drop any ministers," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, MLAs and Ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa met at a breakfast meeting at his Race Course residence where the consultation process has begun.
Sources close to Yeddyurappa claim that he has been toying with the idea of quitting BJP, a development that would threaten the survival of the four-year-old BJP government, the first ever in the South.
Eight ministers loyal to Yeddyurappa have already handed over their resignation letters to their leader.
In another development, the BJP central leadership has reportedly rejected Yeddyurappa's demand for change in the leadership of Sadananda Gowda. Minister for Power Shobha Karandlaje, who was sent as Yeddyurappa's emissary to hold talks with BJP central leadership is, returning empty handed.
As a last effort to save the situation, Eswarappa said the entire BJP was with Yeddyurappa. Eswarappa's parleys with Yeddyurappa on Sunday have failed to end the crisis.
In the 225-member Assembly, BJP has a strength of 120. Yeddyurappa claims to have the support of at least nine ministers and 45 MLAs.
Eshwarappa also said he has not received the resignation letters either from the ministers or the MLAs. "I have been in touch with these MLAs and ministers and I am telling confidently as the state party chief that they will not quit," he said.
On Yeddyurappa praising Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her party for being supportive of leaders facing trouble "unlike" his own party, Eshwarappa said BJP leadership had never left any of their leaders including LK Advani, Narendra Modi, Madan Lal Khurana and Uma Bharti in the lurch during crisis.
The BJP leadership had always stood behind Yeddyurappa and expressed hope that he would come out clean in the illegal mining case, Eshwarappa said.
He also said he failed to understand the reason for Yeddyurappa to praise Sonia Gandhi and her party. "I would like to make it clear that all BJP leaders, including central leaders are with Yeddyurappa," Eshwarappa said.
"I think Yeddyurappa is giving such statements (praising Sonia Gandhi) out of pain. There is no question of Yeddyurappa quitting the party," he said.
Eswarappa also believed the crisis would be resolved soon.