Three BJP members were appointed as nominated MLAs to the Puducherry State Assembly by the Union Government on Monday. This takes the number of BJP MLAs in the Assembly to nine. In a notification issued by the Union government on Monday, K Venkatesan, VP Ramalingam and RB Ashok Babu were announced as the nominated MLAs. K Venkatesan and VP Ramalingam had joined the BJP only a few days before the Puducherry Assembly elections. RB Ashok Babu was a District President in the state unit of the BJP till last week, as per reports. With this appointment, the state Assembly has 33 members -- 10 from NR Congress, nine from BJP, six from the DMK, six independent MLAs and two from Congress. Nominated MLAs in the Puducherry Assembly are allowed to vote as evidenced by their voting during the crucial trust vote that took place in February in Puducherry. During the trust vote in the Puducherry Assembly, the nominated MLAs were allowed to vote and they had voted against the continuation of V Narayanaswamy as the Chief Minister, thus contributing to the falling of his government in Puducherry. In an alliance with the NR Congress, the BJP had contested in nine seats in the Assembly election and had won six. An independent MLA from Yanam Gollapalli Srinivas has pledged his support for the BJP. Reports also stated that two more independent MLAs might support the BJP thus taking their strength in the Assembly to 12, two seats higher than its ally. With nominated MLAs and the support of independents, BJP’s bargaining power with its ally increases as it eyes a Deputy CM post. NR Congress leader N Rangasamy was sworn in as Puducherry CM on Friday. However, the state cabinet is yet to be sworn in as Rangasamy is undergoing treatment for COVID-19 at a private hospital in Chennai.