Racked by intra-party conflict, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka gave the state its third chief minister in less than a year along with an unprecedented two deputy chief ministers on Thursday.
Jagadish Shivappa Shettar was sworn in as the CM and state BJP chief KS Eshwarappa along with R Ashok became deputy CMs, as the party executed its latest please-all exercise ahead of the assembly polls due in April-May 2013.
Shettar will head a 34-member ministry. He retained all 21 ministers of the outgoing cabinet and inducted 11 new faces, as the party central leadership tried to accommodate the demands of former CMs BS Yeddyurappa and his successor DV Sadananda Gowda.
Yeddyurappa and Gowda sat together at the swearing-in ceremony in the Raj Bhavan, but did not exchange pleasantries.
"We will try to give an honest, transparent and corruption-free government," Shettar said after presiding over the first meeting of his new cabinet.
"My first step would be tackle the drought in the state."
Shettar rubbished a private complaint against him in the lokayukta court alleging irregularities in land notification by him six years ago when he was revenue minister in the Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP coalition government.
"It's a false case. I will take legal action."
Shettar is considered a Yeddyurappa loyalist and belongs to the same politically significant Lingayat community.
Trouble for the BJP's only government in the south began after Yeddyurappa stepped down on July 31 last year following his indictment by the then lokayukta N Santosh Hegde on charges of corruption in a mining scam.
Yeddyurappa - who had become the CM in 2008 - then backed Gowda, a Vokkaliga, as CM in the hope of staging a comeback.
Gowda's tenure lasted a shaky 11 months, with Yeddyurappa making numerous attempts to be reinstated.