Bangalore: Former Karnataka chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader B.S. Yeddyurappa triggered a crisis in the state government on the eve of the state budget after he delivered a 48-hour ultimatum on his reinstatement, escorted some BJP state lawmakers to a resort on the outskirts of Bangalore, and fielded a rebel candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections.

Back in limelight: Former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Yeddyurappa’s supporters have demanded the convening of a legislative party meet on Tuesday, a day before chief minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda presents the budget. A section of the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) are expected to demand the reinstatement of Yeddyurappa as chief minister and put the matter to a vote. Gowda, whose relationship with Yeddyurappa has soured after taking over as chief minister, said he had not received any request to call for a meeting of the legislature party. “We will convene a meeting only after the budget," he said.

The crisis reared its head when Yeddyurappa, in a late night meeting of party MLAs on Sunday, claimed the support of 70 legislators out of 120 BJP MLAs, including several ministers in the cabinet. “I am confident the BJP central leadership will take note of all these developments and take an appropriate decision as soon as possible," Yeddyurappa said at the meeting. Following this, he took the MLAs to the Golden Palms resort on the northern outskirts of the city.

Housing minister V. Somanna, one of Yeddyurappa’s staunchest supporters, said: “there is no reason why Yeddyurappa should not be reinstated. He has the support of the people and the MLAs." However, a section of the BJP is strongly opposed to this, and a group of 15 MLAs have indicated they would submit their resignation as lawmakers if there was a change in leadership.

Yeddyurappa also fielded a rebel candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections scheduled for 30 March. On Monday, the state unit announced the candidature of R. Ramakrishna and Basavaraj Patil Sedam for the Rajya Sabha elections. A few hours later, B.J. Puttaswamy, who served as political secretary to Yeddyurappa when he was at the helm, also filed his nomination papers with the signature of 10 BJP MLAs.

BJP president Nitin Gadkari said Yeddyurappa should show some patience and cooperate with the party. “The party will take an appropriate decision (on Yeddyurappa’s demand) soon. But BJP will not take any decision under pressure," Gadkari said in Mumbai.

He added that the party had assured Yeddyurappa that he would be reinstated if cleared of corruption charges by the court.

The Congress has demanded the dissolution of the state assembly. “Governance in the state has been hit in the wake of internal bickering in the BJP over the leadership issue," said Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Parameshwara.