Six disqualified Congress MLAs from Himachal Pradesh join BJP amid political drama in state


NEW DELHI: Six former MLAs of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly, who were disqualified as Congress legislators after defying a party whip, joined the BJP on Saturday amid the continuing political crisis in the state.

They joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Anurag Thakur, former Himachal chief minister Jai Ram Thakur and its state unit president Rajeev Bindal.

Welcoming the former lawmakers into the party, Thakur said their presence will strengthen the BJP further as he accused the Congress government in the state of failing to fulfil its promises, leading to all-round anger among people.

Thakur said these leaders supported the BJP in the recent Rajya Sabha election, reflecting “public anger” against the Congress.

Those who joined the BJP are Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma and Devinder Kumar Bhutto — all elected on a Congress ticket and disqualified on February 29 for defying a party whip to be present in the House and vote in favour of the state government during a cut motion and budget.

The Election Commission has announced bypolls for their constituencies and they are expected to contest as BJP candidates.

Three Independent MLAs — Ashish Sharma, Hoshiyar Singh and KL Thakur — who submitted their resignations on Friday, are also likely to join the BJP soon.

The Congress government led by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was last month plunged into a crisis after the BJP won the Rajya Sabha poll for the state’s lone seat due to the support of these nine MLAs.

Though Sukhu has been putting up a brave face and there appears to be no immediate threat to his government, the BJP is looking to bring down his dispensation with bypoll wins amid a view that it may draw more legislators of the ruling party into its fold.

With the disqualification of the six Congress MLAs, the strength of the ruling party came down from 39 to 33 in the now 62-member assembly. Its original strength is 68. The BJP has 25 members.

The Speaker, who can vote only in the case of a tie during a floor test, is affiliated to the Congress.

The resignations of the three Independent MLAs have further reduced the assembly’s strength.


Source: Press Trust of India

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