Himachal Pradesh political crisis: Assembly Speaker suspends 15 BJP MLAs

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Himachal Pradesh Congress Observer DK Shivakumar said he was confident that their MLAs will be loyal to the party.
Himachal Pradesh political crisis: Assembly Speaker suspends 15 BJP MLAs
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In a major development in the ongoing political crisis in Himachal Pradesh, Assembly Speaker on Wednesday, February 28, suspended 15 BJP legislators including Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur. This comes soon after Congress minister Vikramaditya Singh announced his resignation from the Cabinet, saying there were attempts to suppress the voice of MLAs. Vikramaditya is the son of Congress stalwart and six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

Six Congress MLAs on February 27 cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election for the lone seat in Himachal Pradesh. Those who voted in favour of the BJP’s candidate were Sudhir Sharma (Dharamsala) and Rajinder Rana (Sujanpur), Inder Dutt Lakhanpal (Badsar), Ravi Thakur (Lahaul-Spiti), Chaitnaya Sharma (Gagret), and Devender Bhutto (Kutlehar). The three Independent MLAs too voted in favour of the BJP. The Congress has a strength of 34 MLAs, the same number as the BJP, in the Assembly.

Earlier in the day, former Himachal Pradesh and former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that he had informed Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla about the current political scenario and expressed apprehension that the party legislators might face expulsion from the ongoing Budget Assembly Session that will culminate on February 29.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar was appointed as the Congress observer for Himachal Pradesh. Speaking to the media, he said, "Congress party has issued a direction that I should be there. I do not know why BJP is in such a hurry. Any government should have a strong opposition. This type of horse-trading is not right as someday it might come back to haunt them. I am confident that all our legislators will be loyal to the party."

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who lost the Rajya Sabha election to BJP’s Harsh Mahajan, extended his congratulations to the winning candidate. “He deserves my congratulations. I would like to tell his party to introspect and think. When a 25-member party fields a candidate against a 43-member party, there is just one message that they will shamelessly do something which is not permitted by the law,” he added. The six rebel Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP have reportedly been shifted to an undisclosed location from the hotel in Panchkula, where they were staying.

(With inputs from IANS)

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