Congress deploys Shivakumar, Hooda to defuse crisis in Himachal


PTI, Feb 28, 2024, 8:23 AM IST

Hours after six Congress MLAs voted in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls in Himachal Pradesh, the party’s top leadership swung into action to pacify the disgruntled legislators lawmakers.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge appointed senior leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda and D K Shivakumar to engage with the six MLAs, who are learnt to be ”disappointed” with the working style of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and are seeking his replacement.

Sources said former Haryana chief minister Hooda and Karnataka deputy chief minister Shivakumar would reach Shimla early Wednesday to take stock of the situation as the Congress government in the state faces an existential crisis.

The six MLAs had left Shimla for Haryana on Tuesday after casting their votes in the Rajya Sabha polls. They are learnt to be in touch with the BJP, amid signs of a crisis engulfing the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh.

The appointment of observers came amid reports that the BJP plans to meet Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla early Wednesday before the assembly meets.

Sources said BJP Legislature Party leaders led by Jai Ram Thakur would meet the Governor and demand a floor test, claiming that the Congress government has lost majority in the assembly.

In a stunning upset for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP on Tuesday won the state’s lone Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi and apparently setting the stage for a no-trust motion in the assembly.

The voting was a tie with both the Congress and the BJP candidates getting 34 votes, 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.

In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 legislators. The remaining three seats are held by independents.

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