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July 20, 1999
HVP may split as 7 ministers quit
The 38-month-old Bansi Lal-led Haryana Vikas Party government suffered a severe jolt today with seven ministers resigning from the ministry since last night amid reports of an imminent split in the ruling party.
Public Works Minister Karan Singh Dalal, Labour and Employment Minister Ramesh Kaushik, Health Minister Dharamvir Yadav, Ministers of State Raj Kumar and Kanta Devi quit the ministry this morning, while Minister of State for Agriculture Jaswant Singh Bawal and Minister of State for Fisheries Azad Mohammad faxed their resignation letters to Governor Mahabir Prasad late last night.
Dalal and Kaushik handed over their resignation letters to Parliamentary Affairs Minister Attar Singh Saini when he had gone to them to hand over a whip for tomorrow's crucial assembly session, summoned for seeking a confidence vote by the chief minister.
Raj Kumar and Kanta Devi announced their resignation from the ministry at the residence of Dalal where he along with Kaushik held a joint media conference.
Later Dr Yadav also faxed his resignation letter to the governor.
Chief Minister Bansi Lal, who is also the HVP president, expelled 11 legislators from the party for their 'anti-party activities'.
They are Azad Mohammad, Brij Mohan Singla, Dharamvir Yadav, Jagan Nath, Jaswant Singh Bawal, Kanta Devi, Karan Singh Dalal, Krishna Gahlawat, Raj Kumar Saini, Narbir Singh and Ramesh Kaushik.
In a communication addressed to assembly Speaker Chhattar Singh Chauhan this morning, Bansi Lal said that the expelled legislators should be allotted separate seats in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha session.
He also expelled these legislators from the primary membership of the party for six years with immediate effect.
With the expulsion of 11 legislators, the strength of the HVP has been reduced to 24, including the speaker, in the 90-member house.
The Om Parkash Chautala-led Indian National Lok Dal has 22 members, Congress 12 and Bharatiya Janata Party 11 in the house.
There are 10 independents in the house of whom one is an associate member of the Congress. One BJP legislator does not have voting rights because of a pending court case relating to his election petition.
Tomorrow's assembly session has been summoned on the directive of the governor, asking the chief minister to seek a confidence vote following withdrawal of support by the Congress on July 16.
Earlier, the Congress had bailed out the Bansi Lal government during the crucial June 25 trial of strength when he had won the trust vote by 55 to 33 votes.
The Bansi Lal government assumed office along with its BJP ally on May 11, 1996, after the assembly poll. The BJP parted ways with the HVP on June 22 last accusing him of 'dictatorial behaviour'.
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