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Himachal Pradesh: BJP approaches Governor amid threat of members' 'suspension' from assembly

The Congress has 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 in the 68-member state assembly. The remaining three seats are held by independents.
Last Updated 28 February 2024, 03:51 IST

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh BJP on Wednesday sought intervention of Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla amid apprehensions that the Assembly Speaker might suspend its MLAs or disqualify the Congress legislators who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election.

Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur said that the Rajya Sabha election on Tuesday made it clear that the Congress government was in minority and demanded Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu resign.

"We are apprehensive that Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania might suspend the BJP MLAs so that the budget could be passed in the Vidhan Sabha," Thakur told reporters here.

"As per our information, notices have been issued to Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP candidate, asking them to explain why action should not be taken against them under the anti-defection law," he said.

A delegation of the BJP legislative party led by Thakur apprised Governor Shukla on the Tuesday happenings during the election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from the state and urged him to ensure that division of votes is permitted during the budget.

On Tuesday, Speaker Pathania refused division of votes in cut motions pertaining to the health department and adjourned the house.

Thakur termed the notice on members' disqualification "unconstitutional" as anti-defection law is not applicable in a Rajya Sabha election. He also said Congress threatened its members their votes would be invalid if they cross voted.

However, the election commission made it clear that the vote cannot be declared invalid as a whip cannot be issued to members to vote for a particular candidate, he said.

The Congress has 40 MLAs and the BJP 25 in the 68-member state assembly. The remaining three seats are held by independents.

Thakur alleged that the marshals misbehaved and manhandled BJP members when they were going towards the chamber of the speaker to register their protest.

The BJP won the Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

The fray ended in a tie with both the Congress and the BJP candidates getting 34 votes, indicating that six Congress MLAs and three independents voted against the party. The result was then declared on the basis of a draw of lots.

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(Published 28 February 2024, 03:51 IST)

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