The Sadananda Gowda government was plunged into a crisis on Sunday, ahead of the presentation of the Karnataka budget on Wednesday, with legislators owing allegiance to the former Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, demanding a meeting of the BJP legislature party to replace Mr. Gowda with Mr. Yeddyurappa.

Addressing the media after a day-long meeting of rebel MLAs at the residence of Mr. Yeddyurappa, Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai said that till evening 58 MLAs had attended it. Later all of them were sent off in a BMTC AC bus to a resort, where they would stay till the budget session commences. Twelve more would join the team on Monday. Mr. Yeddyurappa hoped the high command would take a suitable decision.

Ministers such as C.M. Udasi, Umesh Katti, Jagadish Shettar, V.Somanna, Shobha Karandlaje, Murugesh Nirani and MLAs, along with Mr. Yeddyurappa, were present at the press conference.

Since the Karnataka High Court had absolved the former Chief Minister of charges in an illegal mining case, the party should fulfil its promise to render justice to him, Mr. Bommai said.

Mr. Udasi said the list of legislators, identified with the Yeddyurappa camp, would be submitted to the high command by Tuesday. Mr. Bommai said the high command was aware of the content of the High Court order and expressed confidence that it would democratically elect a new leader.

Mr. Shettar said the MLAs would not meet the top leadership in New Delhi, as they were busy with the Rajya Sabha nominations.

Mr. Yeddyurappa asked the media to wait for 48 hours to see a change in the leadership of the legislature party. The BJP, he said, would complete its term and develop Karnataka on a par with Gujarat.Earlier, Tumkur MP G. Basavaraj told reporters that 10 MPs would meet BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and apprise them of the situation.

The Chief Minister said he was going to present the budget and had made all preparations. The printing of budget papers would start on Monday.