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6 rebel Himachal Congress MLAs to challenge disqualification in High Court

Written by  Annesha Barua -- March 01st 2024 11:11 AM
6 rebel Himachal Congress MLAs to challenge disqualification in High Court

6 rebel Himachal Congress MLAs to challenge disqualification in High Court

PTC News Desk: Following their disqualification by Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania, six Congress MLAs are set to pursue legal action by approaching the High Court to contest the decision.

The rebel Congress MLAs - Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma, and Devinder Kumar Bhutto - faced disqualification after abstaining from voting on the finance bill during the recent Rajya Sabha polls, defying the party whip. The ruling Congress party sought their disqualification for contravening the party's directive.

Sources reveal that a Himachal Pradesh cabinet minister convened a meeting with the rebel MLAs at a hotel, where discussions regarding their petition to the High Court took place. This disqualification has resulted in vacancies in assembly constituencies Dharamshala, Lahaul and Spiti, Sujanpur, Barsar, Gagret, and Kutlehar, reducing the effective strength of the House from 68 to 62. The Congress MLAs now total 34, down from 40, while the opposition BJP holds 25 seats.

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania, in a press conference, announced the disqualification, citing violation of the anti-defection law. He stated that the disqualified MLAs, by defying the party whip, ceased to be members of the House immediately. Senior advocate Satya Pal Jain, representing the disqualified Congress MLAs, argued that the mandatory seven days' time for replying to the notice was not given, and essential documents were not provided.

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The disqualification comes amidst a major setback for the ruling Congress, as the BJP secured Himachal's lone Rajya Sabha seat. In a 30-page order, Mr. Pathania emphasised the need for swift judgments in such cases to uphold democracy's dignity and curb political defections.

Congress' central observer DK Shivakumar stated that the political turmoil in the state has subsided. At a joint press conference attended by party leaders, he declared that all internal differences had been resolved and a coordination committee formed to address future matters, ensuring the Congress government's completion of its full term.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu expressed confidence in his government despite shouldering responsibility for Abhishek Manu Singhvi's defeat in the Rajya Sabha polls.

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(Inputs from agencies)



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