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Himachal Govt On Edge After RS Poll Defeat 

|Shimla | Updated: February 28, 2024 12:33

BJP leaders meet governor creating buzz that no-confidence motion is likely

The results of the Rajya Sabha polls have dramatically become a struggle for survival for the  Himachal Pradesh government. Due to cross-voting, the Congress-led government lost one seat which has put it in danger.  

Senior Congress leaders, Bhupinder Hooda and D.K. Shivakumar, have rushed to the state to deal with the fragile political situation. On its part, the BJP has met Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla creating a buzz that it may bring a no-confidence motion against the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government. 

The 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly has 40 MLAs from Congress, 25 from BJP and three Independents. Senior lawyer Abhishek Singhvi was the Congress candidate. The BJP fielded veteran politician Harsh Mahajan, earlier with the Congress.

Before the voting, Chief Minister Sukhu had hinted that BJP might indulge in horse-trading.  The Congress also issued a whip to its MLAs to prevent cross-voting, a move the BJP called “unethical”.

A rude shock 

When counting was over, it was found that Mr Singvi and Mr Mahajan were tied at 34 votes each. This meant that six Congress MLAs and three Independents had voted in favour of the BJP candidate. What followed was a tie-breaker by a draw of lots, and the BJP candidate won.  

Mr Singvi said the election had “taught me a lesson, how people can change their principles and ideologies overnight”. He said the nine MLAs who cross-voted had dinner with him on Monday night, and three of them also had breakfast with him in the morning. “But they voted against me,” he said.

“Normally, in a draw of lots, the name that is taken out is that of the winner, but under the strange rule of the Election Commission, which I came to know about only on Tuesday, the name of the candidate taken out, which was mine, lost,” the Congress leader said.

The winner, Mr Majahan, said the victory belonged to the BJP. Cross-voting occurred because MLAs were unhappy with the government, he said. 

According to the BJP, the state government has lost the confidence of the House. The six rebel MLAs, who had cross-voted, are reportedly lodged at a resort in Panchkula and have met Himachal BJP chief, Rajeev Bindal. 

Leader of the Opposition Jairam Thakur has said that after the recent developments, the state government has “lost the moral right to stay in power”.

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