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CM Sukhu is liar No.1, says rebel Congress MLA Kuldeep Rana

The rebel leader said more MLA's will join the dissident camp with the Congress government set to fall.
Last Updated 02 March 2024, 12:47 IST

Shimla/Chandigarh: Dubbing Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu as "liar number one, Congress rebel Rajinder Rana on Saturday said that "neither Public Works Minister Vikramaditya Singh had told Sukhu that he is meeting the Congress rebels at Panchkula nor he had sent him."

In an exclusive interview with PTI, Rana said the chief minister was trying to twist the facts and Vikramaditya Singh, who met them on his way to Delhi, did not ask them to come back or patch up.

He has his own grievances with the government which failed to provide land for installing former chief minister Virbhadra Singh's statue and interfered in his functioning.

Sukhu had on Friday said that Singh had told him that some Congress rebels had approached him and they wished to come back, following which he told the PWD minister to talk to the rebels MLAs and the Congress' central leadership.

In a setback for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP on Tuesday won the state's lone Rajya Sabha seat despite being in minority with just 25 MLAs against 40 of the Congress as nine MLAs, including six from the Congress and three independents, voted for BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania had on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs namely Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma and Devinder Kumar Bhutto for abstaining from voting on the Cut Motion and the Finance Bill.

After cross-voting by the rebels in the Rajya Sabha polls, Vikramaditya had announced his resignation from the Cabinet on Wednesday but softened his stand by the evening after meeting the observers, who said that the resignation had been withdrawn.

"More MLAs are coming and the Congress government is going," as Congress MLAs are feeling suffocated by the dictatorial style of functioning of Chief Minister Sukhu, who has put Himachal on the back gear, said Rana, who had changed the political scenario in the state by defeating former CM P K Dhumal in 2017 assembly polls.

Friends of the CM are allegedly running the government and the elected representatives especially, the ministers are "suffocated and humiliated", Rana said.

Besides the six Congress and three independents who cross voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls, nine more Congress MLAs are in touch with us, he claimed in the exclusive interview.

Ruling out any possibility of returning to the Congress, Rana said that "after the observers said that Sukhu would continue as the chief minister, there is no scope for compromise". No rebel MLAs wish to come back as the question of working with the chief minister who has put Himachal on the "back gear" does not arise and we have also conveyed our stance to the observers who called us on phone.

"We cross voted to safeguard the self-respect and interests of Himachal Pradesh", said Rana, adding that they would prefer to sit at home rather than face humiliation.

Referring to the "black snakes" remark of chief minister, Rana said that Sukhu has "lost his mental balance" and his claims that the government is stable is false, and asked if the chief minister is sure of his majority, why the security of some Congress MLAs have been beefed up and alleged that efforts are on to "lure" the MLAs.

"The six black snakes of the Congress party sold their honour and tried to de-stabilise the Congress government by abstaining from voting on a budget which had welfare schemes for the poor," Sukhu had said while addressing a public meeting in Dharampur in the Kasauli Assembly constituency of the Solan district on Friday.

Rana said that the Hamipur district is a stronghold of the BJP which had been winning all the five seats but with the hard work of workers, the situation took a U-turn and the BJP failed to open its account in this district in 2022 assembly elections. But after the government was formed, we only suffered humiliation and hopes of our workers were belied.

Rather than having a big heart, the chief minister resorted to petty actions and the crushers belonging to the families of independent MLAs Ashish Sharma and K L Thakur were closed, Rana said.

From day one, the chief minister has been "cribbing for paucity of funds". If the government doesn't have money, how they would fulfill the promises made on the eve of the last assembly polls, he asked.

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(Published 02 March 2024, 12:47 IST)

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