Cong to decide next course of action in Himachal after observers submit report | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Cong to decide next course of action in Himachal after observers submit report

ByShriya Ganguly
Feb 28, 2024 04:35 PM IST

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the observers spoke to the party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, who told them to meet all the lawmakers

The Congress on Wednesday said the party would decide the next course of action in Himachal Pradesh after a three-member team of observers submitted its report on the cross-voting of its lawmakers for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls a day earlier.

Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu in Shimla on Wednesday. (PTI)
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu in Shimla on Wednesday. (PTI)

Congress candidate Abhishek Singhvi received 34 votes after six lawmakers of the ruling party and three independents, who previously backed the government, supported BJP’s Harsh Mahajan, who also received the same number of votes. Mahajan eventually won after a draw-of-lots.

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The Congress could not cross the simple majority mark of 35 in the 68-member House. The BJP maintained the Congress government has been reduced to a minority and called for chief minister Sukhvinder Sukhu’s resignation. Himachal Pradesh is the only north Indian state the Congress rules.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said the observers Bhupesh Baghel, DK Shivakumar, and Bhupinder Singh spoke to the party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, who told them to meet all the lawmakers, listen to their complaints and demands for a report as soon as possible.

He declined to comment on reports that Sukhu could be replaced even as he emphasised “tough decisions” would only be taken after the report is discussed. Ramesh called cross-voting an unfortunate reality and said the observers would report why and how this happened. “...our priority is to save the Congress government...it was the Congress that received a clear popular mandate in 2022.” He called for respecting the mandate.

Ramesh said the events in Himachal were a part of the BJP’s attempts to topple state governments of other parties by poaching or coercing lawmakers through bribery, etc. “This is yet another way of trying to come to power through the back door, which they did earlier in places such as Madhya Pradesh [in 2020]...”

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