Himachal Pradesh Political Crisis Continues As CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Government Passes Budget Amid Cross-Voting Controversy

Himachal Pradesh Political Crisis Continues As CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Government Passes Budget Amid Cross-Voting Controversy

In the House of 68, Congress has 40 members, the BJP, 25 and three are three independent members.

Rajesh MoudgilUpdated: Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 09:57 PM IST
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Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu | X

Chandigarh: Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led government in Himachal Pradesh got its budget passed on Wednesday, but the political crisis seemed far from over even as the Congress high command has stepped in to save the government.

The Congress government in the hilly state was in a tight spot since Tuesday because of the humiliating cross-voting by party MLAs in the Tuesday’s Rajya Sabha election leading to Congress’ Abhishek Manu Singhvi’s defeat despite the party's clear majority.

In the House of 68, Congress has 40 members, the BJP, 25 and three are three independent members. BJP’s Harsh Mahajan clinched the seat despite Congress’ majority as both the nominees polled 34 votes each – due to cross voting by six Congress and three independent MLAs. Mahajan won in a draw of lots.

The budget was passed by voice vote in the absence of BJP members as 15 of them were suspended by the Speaker for uproar while the remaining 10 staged walkout in protest against the suspension of their party legislators.

And notably, the nine MLAs, including the six Congress MLAs and the three independents, who had cross-voted in the Tuesday’s Rajya Sabha election, were also not present in the House while the budget was passed with a voice vote. The budget session was adjourned sine die – a day ahead of its schedule.

No threat, says Sukhu

Meanwhile, even though talks were agog that Sukhu had offered to quit in the said situation, he said later in the day that he had not offered any resignation and he was a warrior and would keep fighting. He went on to add that the Congress would stay in power in the state for the full five years. "We will prove the majority. We will win, the people of Himachal will win," he added.

Cabinet minister Vikramaditya resigns

Meanwhile, in yet another embarrassing development for Sukhu government, his Cabinet minister Vikramaditya Singh, resigned from the post saying that the party MLAs were being overlooked and there were also attempts from some quarters to humiliate him.

Vikramaditya, 34, who is the son of six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh, further alleged that the legacy of his late father was also not given due respect.

Stating that such humiliation would not be tolerated, he added that now the party high command had to decide where Congress was headed next in Himachal. "The man who lived for Himachal Virbhadra Singh was humiliated. Is this how much they respect my father" he asked.

Damage control by Congress team

Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders, former Haryana two-time chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Karnataka deputy chief minister D K Shivakumar were rushed to Shimla on Wednesday to defuse the situation in which the disgruntled MLAs who were said to be disappointed with the working of the chief minister and reportedly sought his replacement. They were said to have been interacting with all the "disgruntled" MLAs separately, till the time of filing this report.

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