At least 9 More MLAs In Touch With Us: Disqualified Himachal Congress MLA

At least 9 More MLAs In Touch With Us: Disqualified Himachal Congress MLA

Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) Vice President Rajinder Rana leaves after a meeting


Rajinder Rana, one of the six Himachal Pradesh Congress MLAs who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections and was later disqualified from the assembly, today rubbished Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's claim that some rebel legislators want to return, asserting that at least nine party legislators were in touch with them.

He also accused Mr Sukhu of misleading people with his statements.

"No one wants to return. On the other hand, at least nine more MLAs are in touch with us," Mr Rana told Press Trust of India.

On the other hand, Mr Sukhu claimed that "80 per cent of the Congress is together" and the rest were dissatisfied over "trivial issues". He claimed that he held discussions with the six disqualified MLAs and the situation would "surely get better after the formation of the coordination committee".

About the cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections for the lone seat in the state, Mr Rana said, "We took this decision to uphold the honour of Himachal Pradesh and its people." "Did the Congress not have any candidate from the party workers in the state who could represent Himachal Pradesh in the Rajya Sabha?" he asked.

Asked about the possibility of cross-voting if Sonia Gandhi had contested the polls instead of Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Mr Rana said, "She has made a lot of contributions to the country and been Congress president. Had she fought from here, that would have been a different matter."

In a stunning upset for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP on Tuesday won the state's lone Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Singhvi and setting the stage for a no-trust motion in the assembly.

Another disqualified Congress MLA Inder Dutt Lakhanpal told Press Trust of India, "Some people will now call us rebels or traitors. But we aren't. We listened to our conscience. It was our personal decision."

Mr Sukhu, however, claimed, "Eighty per cent of the Congress is together and the rest are upset with us over small matters. It's my responsibility to clear things, so I have had discussions with them (six disqualified Congress MLAs)."

About the BJP's claim that the Himachal Pradesh government can collapse, the chief minister said, "The BJP's spirits are high after the cross-voting but this kind of situation won't arise again."

When asked about the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Mr Sukhu said, "The situation will surely get better after the formation of the coordination committee. We will fight the Lok Sabha elections with full power. The Congress has provided an honest and transparent governance in the state in the last 14 months."

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs, who had cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls, for abstaining from voting on the Budget in the assembly.

One of the disqualified MLAs said they would appeal against the Speaker's order in the Supreme Court.

The six rebel Congress MLAs had abstained from voting on the cut motion and finance bill (Budget) in the assembly, defying a party whip to vote in favour of the government. The ruling Congress had sought their disqualification on this ground.

The disqualified MLAs are Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma and Devinder Kumar Bhutto.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)