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HP crisis: BJP MLAs meet guv, says Cong govt in minority

Last updated on: February 28, 2024 11:41 IST

The Himachal Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday sought intervention of Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla amid apprehensions that the assembly speaker might suspend its MLAs or disqualify the Congress legislators who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election.

IMAGE: BJP Legislative Party led by Jairam Thakur meets Himachal Pradesh Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla. Photograph: @jairamthakurbjp/X

Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said that the Rajya Sabha election on Tuesday made it clear that the Congress government was in minority and demanded Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu resign.

"We are apprehensive that Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania might suspend the BJP MLAs so that the budget could be passed in the Vidhan Sabha," Thakur told reporters in Shimla.

"As per our information, notices have been issued to Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP candidate, asking them to explain why action should not be taken against them under the anti-defection law," he said.

A delegation of the BJP legislative party led by Thakur apprised Governor Shukla on the Tuesday happenings during the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state and urged him to ensure that division of votes is permitted during the budget.


On Tuesday, Speaker Pathania refused division of votes in cut motions pertaining to the health department and adjourned the house.

Thakur termed the notice on members' disqualification "unconstitutional" as anti-defection law is not applicable in a Rajya Sabha election. He also said Congress threatened its members their votes would be invalid if they cross voted.

However, the election commission made it clear that the vote cannot be declared invalid as a whip cannot be issued to members to vote for a particular candidate, he said.

Meanwhile,  Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge appointed senior leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda and D K Shivakumar to engage with the six MLAs, who are learnt to be "disappointed" with the working style of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and are seeking his replacement.

Sources said former Haryana chief minister Hooda and Karnataka deputy chief minister Shivakumar would reach Shimla early Wednesday to take stock of the situation as the Congress government in the state faces an existential crisis.

The six MLAs had left Shimla for Haryana on Tuesday after casting their votes in the Rajya Sabha polls. They are learnt to be in touch with the BJP, amid signs of a crisis engulfing the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh.

In a stunning upset for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP on Tuesday won the state's lone Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi and apparently setting the stage for a no-trust motion in the assembly.

The voting was a tie with both the Congress and the BJP candidates getting 34 votes, indicating that at least six Congress MLAs voted against the party. The result was then declared on the basis of a draw of lots, officials said.

In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 legislators. The remaining three seats are held by independents.

Following the result, sources in the opposition party had said members of the BJP Legislature Party led by the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Thakur, would meet the governor and demand a floor test, claiming that the Congress government has lost majority in the House.

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