Himachal Pradesh witnesses Congress MLA shift to BJP

Among the prominent figures who switched allegiance to the BJP are Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma, and Devinder Kumar Bhutto, all of whom were disqualified for defying party directives.

| Updated: 23 March, 2024 4:00 pm IST
Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Sukhu

NEW DELHI: Amidst a brewing political storm in Himachal Pradesh, nine former MLAs, including six disqualified Congress legislators and three independents, have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This significant development comes in the wake of mounting dissatisfaction with the Congress government led by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

Among the prominent figures who switched allegiance to the BJP are Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma, and Devinder Kumar Bhutto, all of whom were disqualified for defying party directives. Additionally, independents Ashish Sharma, Hoshiyar Singh, and K.L. Thakur resigned from their positions to join the saffron party, citing a commitment to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of national development.

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The former lawmakers, expressing disillusionment with the state government’s performance under CM Sukhu, cited stalled development initiatives as a key reason for their defection to the BJP. They were welcomed into the BJP fold by Union Minister Anurag Thakur, former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, and other senior party leaders. Anurag Thakur, while addressing the media, emphasized that the presence of these former MLAs will bolster the BJP’s stance against the incumbent government. He highlighted that six of the former Congress legislators had already thrown their weight behind the BJP during the recent Rajya Sabha election, reflecting public discontent with the Sukhu administration.

The political realignment in Himachal Pradesh comes at a crucial juncture, with the Election Commission announcing by-polls for the vacated constituencies. The defection of these former MLAs has further weakened the Congress government, already grappling with internal dissent and external challenges. CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, while downplaying the impact of the defections, raised questions about the circumstances leading to the resignations and hinted at possible investigations into alleged inducements or coercion. However, the BJP sees this influx of former legislators as a testament to the growing support for its agenda of governance and development.

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As the political landscape in Himachal Pradesh undergoes seismic shifts, the BJP aims to capitalize on the discontent within the Congress ranks and emerge as a formidable force in the upcoming by-polls. With the stage set for a high-stakes electoral battle, the ramifications of these defections are poised to shape the state’s political trajectory in the days to come.

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