Himachal's Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu govt totters after BJP’s Rajya Sabha victory : The Tribune India

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Himachal's Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu govt totters after BJP’s Rajya Sabha victory

Mahajan pips Singhvi in draw of lots post tie | 6 Congress MLAs cross-vote, 3 Independents too go with saffron party

Himachal's Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu govt totters after BJP’s Rajya Sabha victory

BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan celebrates his victory in the RS poll at the Vidhan Sabha complex in Shimla. PTI



Tribune News Service

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, February 27

In a high-voltage political drama, the BJP today sprung a surprise by winning the lone Rajya Sabha seat that went to the polls as party candidate Harsh Mahajan won despite the Congress enjoying a comfortable majority, with 40 MLAs in the 68-member House.

With both Mahajan and Congress nominee Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a Supreme Court lawyer, polling 34 votes each, the victory was decided through a draw of lots, which went in favour of the BJP.

In a day marked by hectic political activity leading to a major embarrassment for Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, it became evident the six disgruntled Congress MLAs who crafted the BJP’s victory had left for Panchkula.

What is even more critical is the election has brought the Sukhu-led Congress government under threat with six party legislators cross-voting in favour of the BJP candidate. The worry for the CM now is to ensure the Budget is passed on February 29 to prove he still enjoys the support of majority MLAs. The desperation in the Congress camp was evident when Chintpurni legislator Sudershan Babloo, who was admitted to the ICU in a Hoshiarpur hospital in Punjab, was especially flown in by a government helicopter to cast his vote around 1 pm. With six MLAs cross-voting, the Congress tally was reduced to 34, while the BJP also mustered 34 votes, including 25 of its own, six of the Congress and three of Independent legislators (Dehra’s Hoshiyar Singh, Nalagrah’s KL Thakur and Hamirpur’s Ashish Sharma).

The six Congress MLAs who cross-voted were Sudhir Sharma (Dharamsala) and Rajinder Rana (Sujanpur), both ministerial aspirants; Inder Dutt Lakhanpal (Badsar); Ravi Thakur (Lahaul-Spiti); Chaitnaya Sharma (Gagret); and Devender Bhutto (Kutlehar). The three Independent MLAs too were reported to be in Panchkula.

The Congress alleged their MLAs had been kidnapped, while the BJP refuted the charge, saying they had left on their own due to resentment against their government. “The six Congress legislators have cross-voted for all kinds of allurements. There is always dissent within a party, but having been elected on the Congress ticket, they have backstabbed own party, giving proof of their morality and character,” said CM Sukhu.

Even before the counting of votes could be taken up, the BJP objected to the vote cast by Babloo, who was ferried in the helicopter. Thakur demanded the result of the Rajya Sabha election be held back till the Election Commission took a call on Babloo’s vote.

With BJP leaders meeting the Vidhan Sabha Speaker after the win demanding division of votes be undertaken rather than voice vote on the floor of the House, it is apparent ‘Operation Lotus’ may play out in the hill state sooner than later.

The BJP legislature party led by LoP Thakur will meet Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla at 7.30 am tomorrow at Raj Bhawan, ahead of the Assembly session at 11 am. The meeting assumes significance as the Budget presented by CM Sukhu is to be passed in the Vidhan Sabha on February 29, the last day of the session.

Cong to challenge

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the party will challenge the Rajya Sabha election result in Himachal Pradesh, as both candidates polled 34 votes each and the decision was delivered after a lottery.

No-trust vote in 2 days

In next two days, we will bring a no-confidence motion against Sukhu regime as the Congress government has been reduced to a minority. — Jai Ram Thakur, leader of opposition

Backstabbed own party

There is always dissent in a party, but having been elected on Cong ticket, they have backstabbed their own party. — Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, CM

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#BJP #Congress #Rajya Sabha #Shimla #Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu


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