Amid speculation about leadership change in Karnataka and the exit of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the names of several leaders have been doing the rounds for the key post.
The Panchamasali Lingayat community has been demanding the chief ministerial post for several months. BJP leaders from the community including Basangouda Ramangouda Patil Yatnal, Arvind Bellad and Murugesh Nirani are believed to be the front runners in the race.
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai's name is also being mentioned.
Former union minister DV Sadananda Gowda and BJP general secretary CT Ravi could also be the next chief minister if the party high command gives priority to the Gowda community.
Also, R Ashok and CN Ashwathnarayan are the other popular figures from the community.
Meanwhile, several conventions and meetings are being held in Bengaluru and other places of Karnataka in different mutts to ensure Yediyurappa stays as the chief minister.
On Sunday, seers of different Lingayat mutts held a convention in Bengaluru's Palace Grounds and extended their support to Yediyurappa.
Dingaleshwara Swami of Balehosur Mutt said Yediyurappa should not be replaced. "Solutions should be found under the leadership of Yediyurappa ji. He should not be replaced. Karnataka will face more problems if he is removed," he said.
Lingayats are the largest community of Karnataka consisting of nearly 17 per cent of the population. The community is known to have some firm supporters of the BJP and Yediyurappa and can determine the outcome of 35 to 40 per cent Assembly seats.
For the last two weeks, the demand for a Dalit Chief Minister has also increased in BJP. Dalit leaders like Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol and B Sriramulu are also in the race to become the next chief minister.
Speaking to media persons, Chief Minister Yediyurappa made it clear that the final decision will be taken by the BJP high command. "I will obey the suggestions given by them and I am no way concerned about the next chief minister, whether he comes from the Dalit community or any other community. I will accept the decision."
Yediyurappa strongly denied having tendered his resignation amid speculations about leadership change in Karnataka.
According to sources, Yediyurappa during his meeting with the top leadership in Delhi raised concerns for the political future of his sons Vijayendra, who is BJP vice president and Raghavendra, party MP from Shimoga.
Some sources in BJP said that the flood situation in Karnataka may force the party high command to continue with BS Yediyurappa as the chief minister for some more days. Many in the party also believe that there is no leader in Karnataka after Yediyurappa who has mass acceptance and popularity.
Last month, some BJP MLAs had demanded that Yediyurappa must step down as chief minister. State Tourism Minister CP Yogeeshwara in a statement had said that instead of the Chief Minister, his son has been ruling and controlling the Ministries of Karnataka.
BJP MLC AH Vishwanath also said that 80 per cent of BJP legislators, who met the national general secretary in charge of the State Arun Singh, were of the view that leadership in the state should be changed.
Yediyurappa, however, refuting all allegations said that confusion among members would be cleared. He also said, "I will resign the day party high command asks me to quit. I do not speak about the rumours and the speculation created by some of the ministers and legislators."