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Himachal political crisis: Congress government's fate at stake in June 1 bypolls amid rebel defections hint

Written by  Annesha Barua -- March 24th 2024 01:07 PM
Himachal political crisis: Congress government's fate at stake in June 1 bypolls amid rebel defections hint

Himachal political crisis: Congress government's fate at stake in June 1 bypolls amid rebel defections hint

PTC News Desk: The stability of the Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu-led Congress government in Himachal Pradesh is increasingly uncertain as six rebel MLAs from the party, along with three independent legislators, formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday. This development has heightened tensions within the state's political landscape, placing the fate of the current government in jeopardy.

The trigger for this turmoil was the disqualification of the six Congress rebel MLAs, which resulted in six seats becoming vacant. In response, the Election Commission swiftly announced that bypolls for these seats will be conducted on June 1. Coincidentally, this date aligns with the seventh phase of the general elections, during which four Lok Sabha constituencies in the hill state are scheduled to cast their votes.

With the upcoming bypolls serving as a crucial battleground, both the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP are gearing up for a fierce political showdown. The outcome of these bypolls will not only determine the composition of the state assembly but also carry significant implications for the stability of the existing government.

Against this backdrop of uncertainty and political maneuvering, the people of Himachal Pradesh await the outcome of the June 1 bypolls, which hold the potential to reshape the state's political landscape in the days to come.

Key developments unfolding in Himachal Pradesh:

1. Congress Stands Firm Amid Declining Numbers: Despite witnessing a decrease in its legislative strength to 33 members from the original 29 in the 62-member assembly, the Congress party maintains a resilient stance. The Speaker, who holds the right to vote only in the event of a tie, remains affiliated with the Congress. Furthermore, the recent resignations of three independent MLAs have further diminished the assembly's strength to 59 members. However, the Congress retains the majority in the House, providing a semblance of stability to the ruling party.

2. BJP Amplifies Criticism Against Congress: Following the induction of six Congress rebels and three independent MLAs into its ranks, the BJP intensifies its criticism of the Congress, alleging that the ruling party lacks numerical superiority. Jairam Thakur, a BJP leader and former chief minister, underscores the changed political dynamics in the state, emphasizing the Congress party's diminishing influence. With 25 MLAs in the assembly, the BJP asserts its growing prominence in Himachal Pradesh's political landscape.

3. Anticipated Exodus from Congress: Rajinder Rana, one of the six disqualified Congress rebels who recently joined the BJP, predicts further defections from the ruling party. Rana asserts that more legislators within the Congress are discontented and in communication with the BJP, hinting at potential defections in the near future. This anticipated exodus poses a significant challenge to the Congress' stability and control over the state assembly.

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4. Congress Accuses BJP of Unethical Practices: Amid the escalating political turmoil, the Congress accuses the BJP of resorting to undemocratic tactics to undermine the integrity of the democratic process. State minister Rajesh Dharmani denounces the BJP's alleged use of monetary influence, coercive tactics, and manipulation of government agencies to seize power. Dharmani emphasizes the detrimental impact of such actions on democracy and societal cohesion, affirming the Congress' commitment to completing its full term in office.

5. Sudhir Sharma's Critique and Shift to BJP: Former Himachal Pradesh minister Sudhir Sharma, who recently joined the BJP, launches a scathing attack on Congress leader Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu. Sharma criticises Sukhu for allegedly obstructing access to the chief minister, highlighting the challenges faced by grassroots party workers. Expressing disillusionment with the Congress' leadership, Sharma lauds Prime Minister Modi's policies and asserts his unwavering commitment to the BJP.

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(Inputs from agencies)



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