Congress legislator S.V. Ramachandra quit the party and the Karnataka assembly, reducing its strength in the house to 72 and sparking a fresh war of words in the state.
S.V. Ramachandra, legislator from Jagalur in the central Karnataka district of Davangere, resigned late Tuesday, bringing down the Congress tally in the 225-member assembly to 72 from 73.
On Friday, M.C. Ashwath, the Janata Dal-Secular lawmaker from Channapatna, about 60 km from here, quit the assembly. The JD-S number fell to 26 from 27.
The resignations come in the wake of a rebellion against Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa by 11 of his party legislators and five independents.
The independents had helped the chief minister to form the BJP's first government in Karnataka and south India in May 2008 and were rewarded with cabinet berths.
While the 16 legislators have been disqualified and their appeal is in the Karnataka High Court, the Congress is claiming that its legislators are being offered Rs.50 crore (Rs.500 million) by the BJP to defect.
Yeddyurappa has rubbished the allegations and charged the Congress and JD-S with holding the 11 BJP rebels hostages.
The Congress laid a siege to the chief minister's residence late Tuesday after word spread of Ramachandra's resignation.
It has threatened to ‘gherao' Yeddyurappa wherever he goes in the state if BJP does not stop poaching its legislators.
Assembly Speaker K.G. Bopaiah Wednesday announced that he had accepted Ramachandra's resignation although the Congress urged him to reject it.
Yeddyurappa has become the first Karnataka chief minister to go in for two trust votes in three days.
He won the first trust vote Oct 11 amid bedlam as the 16 disqualified members were not allowed to attend the house.
Governor H. R. Bhardwaj first recommended placing the state under President's Rule but later gave Yeddyurappa one more chance to prove his majority Oct 14.
Yeddyurappa won that test 106 to 100 votes but the outcome is subject to the high court decision on the validity of the disqualification of the 16 rebels.
With the court hearing on, the Congress has housed its legislators in a posh hotel while the JD-S has taken its flock along with the 16 rebel lawmakers to a resort on Bangalore's outskirts.
The two parties say they have gone for such an arrangement to prevent the BJP from luring their legislators.