Cross-Voting, Expelled MLAs In Congress' 24-Hour Himachal Crisis: 10 Points

The Congress had 40 MLAs and the backing of three independents before the Rajya Sabha poll debacle - comfortably above the majority mark of 34.

Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu (File).

New Delhi: The Congress battled a crisis in Himachal Pradesh Wednesday, 24 hours after a shock defeat in a Rajya Sabha election. Six MLAs, and three independents, cross-voted, siding with the BJP and casting doubts over the majority status of its government.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. As the dust settled on a frantic day, the Congress' strategic thinking bought it some respite. The expulsion of 15 BJP MLAs allowed the ruling party to pass the state budget without contest, meaning its majority status cannot be immediately challenged.

  2. Under-fire Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu struck a defiant note, insisting he had no plans to resign despite claims his government is in the minority. "Neither (has) anyone asked for my resignation nor have I presented it to anyone. We will prove our majority. We will win..." he said, accusing the BJP of "spreading rumours" to break the party.

  3. Alarmed at the potential loss of another state, the Congress has rushed three 'observers' - Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, and ex-Haryana and Chhattisgarh Chief Ministers Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Bhupesh Baghel - to defuse the situation.

  4. Senior leader Jairam Ramesh has vowed action against the cross-voting MLAs (disqualification notices have been served) but said the "priority is to save the Congress government". Mr Ramesh, like Mr Sukhu, has accused the BJP of orchestrating another 'Operation Lotus' - the opposition's claim that the party topples elected government.

  5. However, there seemed to be subtext, which hinted Mr Sukhu might be sacked if the party wants to pacify the rebel faction that is thought to include Vikramaditya Singh, the son of the late six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. Vikramaditya Singh quit claiming "disrespect" to his father, pointing out the Congress won the last election using his name.

  6. The BJP - claiming a boost to its numbers thanks to the cross-voting Congress and independent MLAs - sought today to force a floor test. The challenge was circumvented by the Congress but, had it gone through, Mr Sukhu's government could well have fallen.

  7. The Congress had 40 MLAs in the 68-seat House, where the majority mark is 35. However, if it has lost, as all signs indicate, the six cross-voters, its slips to 34 - one below majority. The BJP had 25 MLAs but could now have 34 too, including the independents, making for a hung House but with the momentum in the saffron party's favour.

  8. Expelling the BJP MLAs was also a pre-emptive strike against the BJP's plan to force the ruling party into a floor test, since removing them drops the majority mark to just 27.

  9. Senior BJP leader Jairam Thakur, Mr Sukhu's predecessor and one of the expelled MLAs, told reporters his party's increased strength was a "danger" to the Congress. "They had to pass the budget somehow, or the government would fall," he told reporters.

  10. If the Congress does still end up losing Himachal Pradesh, it underlines the size of the challenge facing it and the INDIA bloc - formed last year to defeat Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP, and led by the party - weeks before a Lok Sabha election.

With input from agencies

NDTV is now available on WhatsApp channels. Click on the link to get all the latest updates from NDTV on your chat.

Post a comment