Congress top brass in damage control to save Himachal govt, rushes 2 observers


PTI, Feb 28, 2024, 1:45 PM IST

Representative image (Source: PTI)

The Congress top brass on Wednesday rushed former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and DK Shivakumar to Shimla to parley with members of the party which is facing loss of support and risks losing power in the state.

Sources said Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge is learnt to have spoken to former party chief Rahul Gandhi as also general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on the Himachal developments.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Shivakumar decried BJP and called its tactics ”worrisome” for democracy.

”As per the directions of the Congress high command, I am reaching #HimachalPradesh. Also there is absolutely no need to indulge in any hearsay, as I am confident that Congress Party legislators will be loyal to the party and stay put with the mandate that has been accorded to them. ”However, what should be questioned and worrisome is the extremes to which BJP is going in terms of acquiring power, deliberately attempting to crush democracy and public mandate in the process,” Shivakumar said in a post on X.

Hours after six Congress MLAs voted in favour of the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls in Himachal Pradesh, Kharge swung into action to pacify the disgruntled lawmakers and sent Hooda and Shivakumar to the state. They are expected to reach Himachal Pradesh soon.

They have been asked to engage with the disgruntled MLAs, including 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.

The Congress government in the state faces an existential crisis after six MLAs crossed sides and are learnt to be in touch with the BJP.

Adding Congress’ woes, former state chief minister Vikramaditya Singh also announced his resignation from the cabinet and said he has already spoken to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Meanwhile, HP Vidhan Sabha Speaker suspended 15 BJP MLAs for misbehaviour and adjourned the house.

The state budget is pending approval in the assembly and the BJP, with the help of Congress rebels, is ensuring that the budget is not passed and is seeking a division of votes.

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 set the stage for a no-trust motion in the assembly.

The contest tied 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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