Stepping up pressure on the BJP leadership to concede his demand for reinstatement as Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa on Monday fielded a close aide as a “rebel” candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls from Karnataka.

Soon after the BJP high command took a stern stand and ruled out an immediate leadership change in the State, B.J. Puttaswamy filed his papers, minutes before the close of nominations. Two official candidates of the BJP had already filed their nominations.

Mr. Yeddyurappa has been asking the high command to negotiate with him on his demand for reinstatement as Chief Minister before March 22, last date for withdrawal of nominations for the Rajya Sabha polls. He has taken MLAs of his camp to a resort.

Taking its cue from the high command, the State BJP suspended Mr. Puttaswamy from the party and issued a show-cause to 10 MLAs from the Yeddyurappa camp who proposed his candidature. Mr. Puttaswamy's resignation from the post of Chief Minister's political secretary was accepted. Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda too remained firm and ruled out convening the Legislature Party meeting to discuss leadership change as demanded by Mr. Yeddyurappa.

The party's tough stance that there will be “no leadership change in haste” and that “Mr. Gowda will present the budget” has had its impact, it is learnt. For, the number of MLAs in the Yeddyurappa camp has since dwindled. Even as claims were made that he had the support of about 60 MLAs, highly placed sources in the BJP maintained that only 38 legislators were with the Yeddyurappa camp.

According to a senior BJP leader, none of the MLAs want to face early polls and hence they are apprehensive of their pressure tactics leading to elections. But the political scenario has left them confused.