BJP calls for test of strength in Himachal Pradesh

The BJP, having won the Rajya Sabha seat with candidate Harsh Mahajan, asserts that the Congress government is now in the minority.

| Updated: 28 February, 2024 3:37 pm IST
15 BJP MLAs, Including Jairam Thakur, Suspended From Assembly

NEW DELHI: Himachal Pradesh is in the throes of a political crisis as the opposition BJP demands a test of strength in the Congress-ruled state. The turmoil escalated following the BJP’s victory in the state’s lone Rajya Sabha seat due to cross-voting by Congress MLAs. CM Sukhwinder Sukhu is likely to tender his resignation following the debacle in polls.

The BJP, having won the Rajya Sabha seat with candidate Harsh Mahajan, asserts that the Congress government is now in the minority. In response to the defeat, the state assembly speaker expelled 15 BJP MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Jairam Thakur, for alleged misconduct and slogan-shouting during the Budget session.

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Jairam Thakur raised concerns earlier: “We are apprehensive that Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania might suspend the BJP MLAs so that the budget can be passed in the Vidhan Sabha.” The expelled BJP MLAs include Jairam Thakur, Vipin Singh Parmar, Randheer Sharma, Lokender Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Hans Raj, Janak Raj, Balbir Verma, Trilok Jamwal, Surender Shori, Deep Raj, Puran Thakur, Inder Singh Gandhi, Dileep Thakur, and Inder Singh Gandhi.

In response to the turmoil, Vikramaditya Singh, Congress leader and minister, announced his resignation from the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet, further exposing cracks within the party. The BJP has sought the intervention of Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla to resolve the crisis. The Congress currently holds 40 seats, while the BJP has 25 in the 68-member assembly, with the remaining three seats held by independents.

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Amid the chaos, the state assembly Speaker, Kuldeep Singh Pathania, suspended the 15 BJP MLAs, including Jairam Thakur, for alleged misconduct during the assembly session. Jairam Thakur criticised the Congress government, stating, “The way Marshals behaved with our MLAs was not right. We doubt that the Vidhan Sabha Speaker can suspend BJP MLAs and some MLAs of Congress who voted for BJP in Rajya Sabha elections, can also be suspended. The Congress government has lost the right to stay in power.”

The BJP’s victory in the Rajya Sabha polls and subsequent events have shaken the political landscape in Himachal Pradesh. The Congress government is grappling to maintain stability as the BJP pushes for a test of strength, while internal discord within the Congress adds further complexity to the situation.

 

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