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More MLAs to quit, Sukhu govt will fall, says Himachal Cong rebel

Last updated on: March 02, 2024 21:40 IST

Rebel Himachal Pradesh Congress MLA Rajinder Rana on Saturday claimed that nine more party legislators 'feeling suffocated' due to Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's style of functioning are in touch with him as he called the chief minister 'liar number one'.

IMAGE: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu presides over a cabinet meeting, in Shimla on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Rana along with five other Congress MLAs, who had cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls, have been disqualified from the assembly for abstaining from voting on the cut motion and finance bill.

Meanwhile, high drama was witnessed during the Himachal Pradesh cabinet meeting on Saturday as ministers Jagat Negi and Rohit Thakur left midway following a 'heated debate' over policy decisions, sources said.


In an exclusive interview with PTI, Rana termed Sukhu 'liar number one' and alleged that he was trying to twist the facts.

"Neither Public Works Department Minister Vikramaditya Singh had told the chief minister that he is meeting the Congress rebels at Panchkula nor the CM had sent him," Rana said.

"Vikramaditya Singh, who met us on his way to Delhi, did not ask us to patch up. He has his grievances against the government which failed to provide land for installing Virbhadra Singh's statue and interfered in his functioning," he added.

Sukhu on Friday said he gave the go-ahead to Vikramaditya Singh to meet the rebels who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls, in what appeared to be a placatory gesture even as he called the same six MLAs 'black serpents'.

In a setback for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday won the state's lone Rajya Sabha seat despite being in the minority with just 25 MLAs against 40 of the Congress as nine MLAs, including six from the Congress and three independents, voted for BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania had on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs namely Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma and Devinder Kumar Bhutto for abstaining from voting on the Cut Motion and the Finance Bill.

After cross-voting by the rebels in the Rajya Sabha polls, Vikramaditya had announced his resignation from the Cabinet on Wednesday but softened his stand by the evening after meeting the observers, who said that the resignation had been withdrawn.

"More MLAs are coming and the Congress government is going," as Congress MLAs are feeling suffocated by the dictatorial style of functioning of Chief Minister Sukhu, who has put Himachal on the back gear, said Rana, who had changed the political scenario in the state by defeating former CM P K Dhumal in 2017 assembly polls.

Friends of the CM are allegedly running the government and the elected representatives especially, the ministers are 'suffocated and humiliated', Rana said.

Besides the six Congress and three independents who cross voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls, nine more Congress MLAs are in touch with us, he claimed in the exclusive interview.

Referring to the 'black snakes' remark of chief minister, Rana said that Sukhu has 'lost his mental balance' and his claims that the government is stable is false, and asked if the chief minister is sure of his majority, why the security of some Congress MLAs have been beefed up and alleged that efforts are on to 'lure' the MLAs.

"The six black snakes of the Congress party sold their honour and tried to de-stabilise the Congress government by abstaining from voting on a budget which had welfare schemes for the poor," Sukhu had said while addressing a public meeting in Dharampur in the Kasauli Assembly constituency of the Solan district on Friday.

Amid the Congress' woes, Revenue Minister Jagat Negi and Education Minister Rohit Thakur on Saturday walked out of the Cabinet meeting being chaired by Sukhu after a 'heated debate' over policy decisions, sources said.

Thakur, however, returned after allegedly being pacified by Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, they said.

Later, Negi said the meeting started at around 12.30 pm instead of the scheduled time of 11 am and clashed with another engagement that he had.

Negi said he left as he was getting late.

Addressing media persons, Thakur said he left the meeting briefly to meet someone but later went back.

Politics is a game of suitability and compromise and good sense should prevail in the interest of the party, a senior Congress leader told PTI while referring to the incident.

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