Amid continuing defections from opposition ranks, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Thursday expanded his cabinet by inducting three members who switched sides and joined the saffron party.
Governor Rameshwar Thakur administered oath of office and secrecy to Balachandra Laxmanrao Jarakiholi, K Shivanagouda Naik and Asnotikar Anand Vasanth at a ceremony in Rajbhavan.
Jarakiholi and Naik defected from JD-S and Asnotikar Vasanth Naik switched over from Congress to ruling BJP last week. All three quit their assembly membership to avoid provisions of anti-defection laws.
With this second expansion, the ministry's strength rose to 34, the maximum stipulated for the state under the constitution.
The three will be contesting by elections from their former constituencies.
Meanwhile, the BJP netted one more Congress MLA and Kannada actor Jaggesh.
It is not immediately known what reward Jaggesh will get. But BJP sources said he may be fielded from Tumkur Parliamentary seat in the coming Lok Sabha election.
The "operation defection" launched by BJP has triggered resentment in its ranks as it dashed the hopes of several ministerial aspirants with the cabinet's strength having reached the ceiling.
For its part, Congress, stung by the fresh desertions, called a meeting of its legislature party to deliberate on the crisis and to chalkout measure to check further exodus.