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Himachal Pradesh: Post-RS Polls, Congress Govt Plunges Into Crisis, Minister Quits

After cross-voting by 6 Congress MLAs, party president Mallikarjun Kharge has rushed Bhupinder Hooda and DK Shivakumar to quell internal rumblings.
Himachal Pradesh Political crisis

New Delhi: Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and a day after cross-voting by six MLAs in the lone Rajya Sabha seat leading to the party’s defeat, the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh has plunged into a crisis.

According to reports, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has gone on overdrive after the RS polls after cracks in the state Congress came out in the open.

Apparently, several Congress MLAs have expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who, in turn, blamed the Central leadership’s choice of fielding and “outsider” (Abhishek Manu Singhvi) instead of someone from the state, Media reports said Sukhu was keen on senior Congress leader Anand Sharma as the RS candidate from the hill state.

Adding to the crisis, Vikramaditya Singh, the son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and a minister in the Sukhu cabinet, on Wednesday resigned from the cabinet, He was in-charge of the public works department.

Addressing a press conference, Singh said he was pained to quit and alleged party legislators had been sidelined. He said there was fiscal mismanagement and all these issues were raised from time to time with the high command in Delhi, according to a report in The Tribune.

He said he had apprised the Central leadership of his move, adding that “I will decide my future course of action after consulting my supporters, but with all humility and heavy heart I am resigning. I will take a call as the situation shapes up.”

Meanwhile, upbeat after pulling it off in the lone RS seat, leader of the Opposition and former BJP Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, along with party MLAs, met Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla.

According to an NDTV report, Thakur told the media that he had informed the “Governor about what happened in the Assembly…We fear that the Vidhan Sabha Speaker may suspend BJP MLAs, as well as some Congress MLAs who supported BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections."

He added that “It is evident that the Congress government has forfeited its legitimacy to remain in power.”

The HP Assembly has a total of 28 members, of which Congress has 40 MLAs and BJP 25, and three Independents.

On Tuesday, there was a tie with both Congress and BJP candidates getting 34 votes each, 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.

The six Congress MLAS who voted for the BJP candidate in the RS seat have apparently set the stage for a no-trust motion in the Assembly, and the BJP seems to have jumped in to grab that opportunity.

Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has rushed crisis management stalwarts, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and D K Shivkumar, to Himachal to try and diffuse the crisis, which could impact the party’s image in North India in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

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