BJP nominates 6 Congress turncoats in Himachal Pradesh

Their disqualification stemmed from defying the Congress party’s whip during legislative proceedings, including the budget session and a no-confidence motion.

| Updated: 26 March, 2024 2:55 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to field all six former Congress MLAs who were disqualified from their party for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh assembly by-elections. These six individuals had previously defied the Congress party’s orders and supported the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections.

The six MLAs are Sudhir Sharma from Dharamshala, Ravi Thakur from Lahaul and Spiti, Rajinder Rana from Sujanpur, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal from Barsar, Chaitanya Sharma from Gagret, and Devinder Kumar Bhutto from Kutlehar. They joined the BJP in a ceremony attended by Union Minister Anurag Thakur, former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, and other senior BJP leaders.

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The by-elections for these seats are scheduled for June 1, which is the same day as the voting for four Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. Their disqualification stemmed from defying the Congress party’s whip during legislative proceedings, including the budget session and a no-confidence motion.

The BJP has highlighted various development projects initiated by the Central government in the state as a reason for the former MLAs’ decision to join the party. They have expressed their support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.

Jai Ram Thakur has described the inclusion of the six former Congress MLAs in the BJP as a major political event, noting that many of them held significant positions within the Congress party. This move is seen as part of the BJP’s strategy to strengthen its position in the state.

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The Congress party’s strength in the assembly has been reduced from 39 to 33 members after the disqualification of the six MLAs and the resignation of three independent MLAs. The total strength of the assembly now stands at 62, down from 68. The BJP currently has 25 members, and the Speaker, who is affiliated with the Congress, can only vote in case of a tie.

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