Hooda, Shivkumar in Shimla to quell Congress discontent - Hindustan Times
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Hooda, Shivkumar in Shimla to quell Congress discontent

By, Shimla
Feb 29, 2024 09:50 AM IST

The six Congress MLAs, Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Ravi Thakur, Chaitanya Sharma and Kutlehar MLA Davinder Kuma, had voted in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha polls on Tuesday

In a bid to quell the rising political unrest within the Himachal Pradesh Congress, the party has rushed Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivkumar and former Haryana chief minister Bhupindra Hooda as party observers to Shimla. The veteran leaders arrived in Shimla and had one-on-one meeting with the Congress members at the Cecil hotel.

Himachal chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri addressing the media in Shimla on Wednesday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)
Himachal chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri addressing the media in Shimla on Wednesday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)

The six rebels, however, it has been learnt, were not in Shimla at the time. The six Congress MLAs,Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Ravi Thakur, Chaitanya Sharma and Kutlehar MLA Davinder Kuma, had voted in favour of Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha polls on Tuesday.

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The ministers reached the hotel after the assembly was adjourned sine dine. Public works minister Vikramaditya Singh and his mother, state Congress president Pratibha Singh, also met with the observers, marking a concerted effort by the party leadership to tackle the crisis head-on.

Education minister Rohit Thakur, while talking to media, said that the party’s legislative members are firmly supporting Sukhu. “The legislative business proceeded smoothly, including the passage of the budget in the assembly, indicating the unity within the party’s legislature,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Vikramaditya had tendered his resignation from the ministerial post, only to soften his stance later and say that he would not press for it. “I apprised the observers on the concerned issues. I will not press for the resignation since the observers are in Shimla, but I have not withdrawn my resignation,” he said.

Later, chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu held discussions with the observers.

The education minister added that Sukhu had engaged with Vikramaditya and the six MLAs who voted against the party were maintaining communication with the leadership as well.

Thakur dismissed allegations suggesting that the remaining Congress MLAs were confined to a single location.

Congress MLA Sanjay Rattan said that upon the MLAs’ arrival at the assembly, they were engaged in dialogue, urging them to reconsider their actions. He emphasised the importance of addressing internal differences within the party, likening it to resolving conflicts within a family.

Sukhu on Wednesday said all fellow party leaders were like his younger siblings, adding, significantly, that his party believes in ”forgiveness, and not revenge”.

On state minister Vikramaditya Singh’s resignation, the chief minister said, “Vikramaditya Singh is my younger brother and I have spoken to him.”

“They (Congress MLAs who cross-voted for the BJP candidate during polling for the Rajya Sabha seat) should have shown more respect for the party. They may be upset with me but a person like Abhishek Singhvi should have been elected to the Rajya Sabha from Himachal Pradesh. However, they betrayed the whip and did not vote for him. This had never happened before in the history of Himachal politics,” CM Sukhu added.

As the Congress lurched into a fresh political crisis in Himachal Pradesh, fighting to stay afloat in the only heartland state it rules, the grand old party appointed observers who reached Shimla on Wednesday.

After meeting with party observers, CM Sukhu said, “Discussion was held regarding elections. Our government is safe.”

Meanwhile, senior party leader Sachin Pilot on Wednesday said that he was hopeful that all differences and discord would be resolved soon.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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