Congress scrambles to save Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu govt in Himachal, wants six rebel MLAs disqualified : The Tribune India

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Congress scrambles to save Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu govt in Himachal, wants six rebel MLAs disqualified

Observers in Shimla | Vikramaditya Singh quits, ‘placated’

Congress scrambles to save Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu govt in Himachal, wants six rebel MLAs disqualified

CM Sukhvinder Sukhu with Congress observers Bhupesh Baghel, DK Shivakumar & Bhupinder Hooda, & state in-charge Rajeev Shukla. PTI



Tribune News Service

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, February 28

The Congress on Wednesday scrambled to save its government in Himachal Pradesh amid dramatic developments that included resignation by state minister Vikramaditya Singh and initiation of disqualification proceedings against six disgruntled MLAs, who defied the party whip on voting for the passage of the Budget proposals.

Budget passed, 15 BJP MLAs suspended

Congress manages to overcome immediate crisis by getting state Budget passed amid a pandemonium in the Assembly, which led to the suspension of 15 BJP MLAs

Though the Congress managed to overcome immediate crisis by getting the Budget passed amid pandemonium in the Assembly which led to the suspension of 15 BJP MLAs from the House, the trouble for the Sukhu government is far from over. With the saffron party reportedly trying to poach some more ruling party MLAs to facilitate a split, the battle for political supremacy between the BJP and Congress in the hill state seems to have just begun. By managing a split, for which a minimum of 14 MLAs are required, the MLAs who crossover will evade disqualification under the anti-defection law. They can then join hands with the BJP to pave the way for the formation of a BJP-led government.

The Congress has sought the disqualification of the six rebel legislators as they defied the party whip by remaining absent from the Assembly when voting for the passage of the Budget proposals was taken up. The hearing of the plea has already started before Vidhan Sabha Speaker Kuldeep Pathania, with legal teams of both the Congress and BJP flying down from Delhi to contest their cases.

The political upheaval in the state was triggered by the defeat of Rajya Sabha candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Tuesday despite the Congress having a comfortable majority of 40 members against 25 of the BJP and three Independents in the 68-member House. The Congress failed to keep its flock together as six of its defiant MLAs and three Independents crafted the victory of BJP’s Harsh Mahajan. There is now uncertainty over the continuation of Sukhu as senior party leaders DK Shivakumar, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Bhupesh Baghel, appointed observers by the high command to resolve the crisis, arrived here to take feedback from party MLAs and address their grouse. Earlier in the day, the dramatic entry of the six rebel Congress MLAs and three Independents, who cross-voted in favour of the BJP, in the Assembly was met with sloganeering and chants of “Jai Shri Ram, ho gaya kaam” by Opposition MLAs.

All nine MLAs were flown in from Panchkula to Annandale and driven to the Assembly. Their cavalcade, escorted by the CRPF, faced the wrath of Congress workers, who raised slogans against them. They stayed in the House for some time and were driven back to the helipad and later flown to Panchkula.

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