Six rebel MLAs disqualified, Congress believes crisis over in Himachal'All is well. This government will stay for five years. All issues have been sorted out. There is no problem in the government,' Shivakumar told reporters in Shimla.
Shemin Joy
Last Updated IST
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu speaks to the media amid dramatic developments.</p></div>

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu speaks to the media amid dramatic developments.

Credit: PTI Photo

New Delhi: Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday staved off a crisis staring at his government for now with the Congress managing a compromise in Himachal Pradesh even as it acted tough on six rebel MLAs who sided with the BJP in the Rajya Sabha election by getting them disqualified from the Assembly in a lightning fashion.


A six member committee with Himachal Congress president Pratibha Singh, the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri and three others as members will be formed for coordination between the government and party to address the concerns of MLAs who were complaining against Sukhu’s style of functioning.

The compromise over Sukhu continuing as the Chief Minister for the time being after his detractors extracted assurances from the leadership during their discussions they had with observers sent by the party D K Shivakumar, Bhupesh Baghel and Bhupinder Hooda.

Shivakumar said that one more round of discussion with stakeholders soon and all party MLAs and leaders will  work together to “save the party and the government”. He said Sukhu accepted that “some failure” happened during the Rajya Sabha election but it will not continue further. 

"We have spoken to all the MLAs personally. We have spoken to the PCC president and the Chief Minister. All of them have sorted out their differences. They will work together," Shivakumar told reporters in Shimla in the presence of Sukhu and Pratibha Singh.

After hectic consultations a day before, Sukhu held a breakfast meeting with Congress MLAs at his official residence in Shimla on Thursday to send a signal of unity. On Wednesday itself, the leadership had managed to pacify Vikramaditya and extracted an assurance that he would not press on his resignation, which he announced hours earlier.

As political crisis unfolds in Himachal Pradesh, track live updates here

PTI reported that most of the MLAs who attended the breakfast meeting asserted that the government was stable and would last its full term.

However, the party acted tough on the six MLA whose votes led to the defeat of party candidate Abhishek Singhvi and raised question marks on the survival of the lone Congress government in north India. Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania disqualified Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Devinder Kumar Bhutoo, Ravi Thakur and Chetanya Sharma for defying a party whip to vote in favour of the government on the Finance Bill.

Pathania, who was acting on a complaint filed by the state Parliamentary Affairs Minister on Wednesday afternoon, held a hearing in the evening and announced his decision on Thursday morning. The affected MLAs are likely to approach higher judiciary but Congress leaders believe they have bought time for the government to fight the BJP attempts to topple it.

With this, the strength of the Assembly has come down to 62 in which Congress has 34 MLAs. Earlier during the Rajya Sabha elections, Congress got only 34 votes out of 68 -- after six Congress MLAs and three supporting independents voted against Singhvi -- with the BJP alleging that the Congress has lost the majority.

The latest political manoeuvre has brought down the number required for majority besides sending a strong message to party MLAs. However, Pratibha said it was natural for MLAs to raise concerns and there could definitely be an impact on Lok Sabha elections.

“When it has been more than a year and you take no cognisance or listen to them, it is natural for them to be upset. Had you sat them down, talked to them and found out a solution, this situation would not have occurred,” she said. Vikramaditya was measured in his remarks when he said it was not proper for him to comment on disqualification of MLAs.

Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh said, “We want to say one thing very clearly. The Prime Minister and the so-called ‘Chanakya’ have completely failed in Himachal. After the intervention of the Congress leadership and the promptness of our observers, the situation there is completely under the control of the Congress.”

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(Published 29 February 2024, 11:31 IST)