Rajinder Rana, one of 6 expelled MLAs, explains why they rebelled in Himachal | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Rajinder Rana, one of 6 expelled MLAs, explains why they rebelled in Himachal

Feb 29, 2024 07:39 PM IST

The rebel Congress legislators say the party brushed their grievances and that backing BJP candidate was a conscious decision to uphold honour of Himachal

CHANDIGARH: Rajinder Rana, one of the six disqualified Congress legislators in Himachal Pradesh, on Thursday said the final trigger that led them to revolt against the party was the decision to field “an outsider” for the Rajya Sabh, ignoring the state’s veteran and bright party leaders.

Expelled Congress MLA Rajinder Rana said (Facebook/rajinderranahamirpur)
Expelled Congress MLA Rajinder Rana said (Facebook/rajinderranahamirpur)

“We kept silently swallowing our humiliation at the hands of Sukhu (Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu) despite informing the Congress high command about our grievances. But Congress’ decision to rehabilitate an outsider in the Rajya Sabha from Himachal was an unbearable humiliation. We voted in favour of the BJP candidate to uphold the honour and self -respect of Himachal and its people,” Rana, 57, said on phone from a Chandigarh hotel where the six expelled MLAs were staying.

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“How long can you silently watch those at the helm trample on ‘swabhiman’ (self respect) of the hill state with impunity. Was there not a single leader of stature available in Himachal Congress who deserved a berth in the Rajya Sabha?”

A shadow of uncertainty looms over the 15-month-old Congress government in the hill state after the Congress candidates Abhishek Manu Singhvi lost to BJP’s Harsh Mahajan after the six Congress legislators cross-voted

Rana, considered to be the architect of the rebellion against the Sukhu government, is a three-term legislator from the Sujanpur assembly segment in Hamirpur district. A graduate of Panjab University evening college Chandigarh in 1986, Rana humbled the BJP veteran and two-term chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal at the hustings in 2017 assembly elections as a Congress nominee.

According to Rana, the trouble was simmering and the central leadership of the Congress was informed about the grievances, unrest among MLAs and party workers “due to CM’s style of functioning”.

“I asked high command at that meeting to intervene and replace Sukhu, who lacks foresight and doesn’t have a large heart to take everyone along. We made it clear that we (now expelled MLAs) don’t want to become CM. We wanted respect and development of our segments,” said Rana, pointing out that Rahul Gandhi had then asked to specify the reasons behind this unrest among the MLAs.

Rana recalled saying at this meeting “in the presence of Sukhu” that a majority of MLAs were “feeling demoralised and humiliated” and urged the party leadership to act fast before this malaise takes some drastic turn. The high command heard them patiently but didn’t act on their concerns.

He said the Congress was struggling to run the government and fulfil the election manifesto promises as the coffers are empty.

“It is the result of this procrastination and high command brushing our grievances under the carpet that we decided to revolt and voted in favour of BJP candidates because it was an issue of honour of Himachal. (Himachal ke swabhimann ka swala tha.)

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Pawan Sharma, based in Chandigarh, is Assistant Editor in HT and presently writes on Haryana's politics and governance. During different stints over the past two decades, he covered Punjab extensively for 10 years and before that judiciary and Himachal Pradesh with focus on high-impact news breaking and investigative journalism.

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