Six Congress MLAs who cross-voted for BJP disqualified from Himachal Assembly

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Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania disqualified the six Congress MLAs on Thursday who cross voted in the Rajya Sabha polls.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania said, “Six MLAs, who contested on Congress symbol, attracted provisions of anti-defection law against themselves…I declare that the six people cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect.”

The six MLAs who have been disqualified are Sudhir Sharma, Rajinder Rana, Davinder K Bhutto, Ravi Thakur, Chaitanya Sharma and Inder Dutt Lakhanpal.

The petition was filed by Congress MLA and parliamentary affairs Minister Harsh Wardhan Chauhan under the anti-defection law for disqualification of the six MLAs.

After the 2022 Assembly elections, the Congress had 40 MLAs, while the BJP had 25 in the 68-member state assembly. The remaining three seats are held by independents.

With the six rebel MLAs disqualified the strength of the house comes down from 68 to 62 and the halfway mark is 32. With the loss of 6 MLAs the Congress now has 34 MLAs and the BJP with independents has 28. The fortunes of the Congress will now rest on its ability to keep the rest of its flock together.

Earlier today, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had called a ‘breakfast meeting’ of all Congress MLAs in Shimla.

“It is an important meeting. Let’s see what happens…This is an informal meeting,” party MLA Ashish Butail said.

Congress MLA Sudarshan Singh Bablu said, “The CM has called everyone for breakfast. Let’s see what discussions are taking place…We received the message last night. Our Government will continue under the leadership of the Chief Minister.”

The meeting is also being attended by Congress’ central observers Bhupinder Hooda and DK Shivakumar. The observers met the MLAs individually on Wednesday and are expected to report to the party high command today.

The BJP has claimed the Congress had lost the moral standing to be in power after losing majority in the Assembly.

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