Himachal Pradesh crisis: Congress says all options open, Kharge asks observers to submit report soon : The Tribune India

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Himachal Pradesh crisis: Congress says all options open, Kharge asks observers to submit report soon

Kharge asks observers to meet Congress MLAs, submit report on the way forward; Congress says party is supreme, not individuals

Himachal Pradesh crisis: Congress says all options open, Kharge asks observers to submit report soon

Security personnel deployed to maintain law and order after Congress and BJP workers gather outside the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly in Shimla on Wednesday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, February 28

The Congress on Wednesday said all options were open to save the Himachal Pradesh government and three senior observers appointed for crisis management in the hill state had been asked to meet all party MLAs and submit a report on the way forward as soon as possible.

Former chief ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Bhupesh Baghel and sitting Karnataka deputy CM DK Shivakumar are in Shimla to engage Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and all 40 Congress MLAs.

"All options are open. The party is supreme, not individuals…If the need arises, tough decisions will have to be taken and the party will not shy away from that. Our top priority is to save the government. Observers have been asked to present a report after speaking to MLAs and recommend ways to deal with the situation and save the clear mandate the people of the state gave to the Congress in December 2022," AICC Congress general secretary organisation Jairam Ramesh said.

To a categorical question about demands of MLAs to replace Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Jairam said "all options are open". He added that the report of the observers would be guided by the principle of "party first".

"Party's interest is supreme. I cannot pre judge what the observers will say in their report but their report will be guided by the sense of the party's interests being supreme," Jairam said.

On a query about whether CM Sukhu had offered to resign, Jairam said three observers were in Shimla and were talking to the CM and all MLAs and will soon report back to the party chief for a final call.

The Congress also clarified that the report of the observers would have two parts -- the first on ways to save the Himachal government amid BJP's Operation Lotus and another on why cross-voting happened and what action would be taken against those who cross-voted.

Jairam Ramesh said the Congress has a clear mandate in Himachal where voters "rejected PM Narendra Modi, former CM Jai Ram Thakur, BJP chief JP Nadda and minister Anurag Thakur".

The Congress leader also said that the state faced an unprecedented disaster in 2023 but "the central government did not declare that a national calamity".

"We have to first save the government and fulfil the guarantees and promises made to the people of the state," Jairam said.

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