Congress crisis: How numbers stand in Himachal after 15 BJP MLAs suspended | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Congress crisis: How numbers stand in Himachal after 15 BJP MLAs suspended

Feb 28, 2024 01:22 PM IST

The six Congress MLAs and three independent legislators, who voted for the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls in Himachal Pradesh, reached the Assembly.

The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh was dealt a major blow on Wednesday as Vikramaditya Singh announced that he would be resigning from the council of ministers. Vikramaditya Singh, son of Congress’s state unit chief Pratibha Singh and former CM Virbhadra Singh, alleged that the concerns of the party’s own MLAs were overlooked and attempts were made to stifle their voices.

Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu addresses the assembly during the budget session in Shimla on Thursday. (HT Photo)
Chief minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu addresses the assembly during the budget session in Shimla on Thursday. (HT Photo)

The announcement came a day after the state witnessed high drama during the Rajya Sabha elections. Six Congress MLAs disgruntled with chief minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls handing an embarrassing defeat to the party candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

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Also Read: DK Shivakumar asked to rescue Himachal govt, BJP claims Congress MLAs in touch

The rebel MLAs – including Rajinder Rana and Ravi Thakur – spent last night in a hotel in BJP-ruled Haryana’s Panchkula and left for Shimla in the morning.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained that the Congress government had lost the confidence of the House and demanded Sukhu's resignation. A delegation of BJP MLAs led by the leader of the opposition Jairam Thakur sought the governor's intervention amid apprehensions that the Assembly Speaker might suspend its MLAs or disqualify the Congress legislators who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election.

"We are apprehensive that Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania might suspend the BJP MLAs so that the budget can be passed in the Vidhan Sabha," Thakur told reporters earlier in the morning.

Also Read: How Sukhu government failed to keep its flock together

Soon after, Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania suspended 15 BJP MLAs, including Thakur, for "misbehaving" with marshalls outside his office on Tuesday and creating disorder in the House. Apart from Thakur, the suspended MLAs are Vipin Parmar, Vinod Kumar, Hans Raj, Janak Raj, Balbir Verma, Trilok Jamwal, Deep Raj, Surinder Shouri, Puran Thakur, Inder Singh Gandhi, Dilip Thakur, Randhir Sharma, Lokender Kumar, and Ranvir Singh.

Number game in Himachal Pradesh

A motion to pass the budget is scheduled to be taken up in the Assembly today.

The number of votes required to pass the motion would depend on the total number of members present and voting during the motion. Typically, the motion needs a simple majority to be passed. This means that if more than half of the members present and voting support the motion, it will be passed. If the budget is not passed, it technically means the government has lost the confidence of the House.

68-member Himachal Pradesh assembly has 40 Congress MLAs, 25 BJP legislators and three independents. However, the rebellion of six Congress legislators has sent jitters to the grand old party which is in power on its own in just three states.

The suspension of 15 BJP MLAs has added to the twist in the ongoing drama in Himachal Pradesh as it has brought the effective strength of the House to 53. If these MLAs remain suspended during the voting on motion, Congress would need 27 votes to pass the budget.

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