HP Congress Govt Safe, 6 MLAs Disqualified: DK Shivakumar

The Asian Age.  | Ashhar Khan

India, Politics

Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania disqualified six Congress MLAs who defied party line by cross-voting in the recent Rajya Sabha polls

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, HP Congress Committee (HPCC) President Pratibha Singh with central observers and others during a press conference, in Shimla. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu-led Congress government in Himachal Pradesh breathed a sigh of relief as threats to its stability subsided on Thursday.

Congress observer D.K. Shivakumar said, “Congress government is intact with Sukhu as the CM. All MLAs support a Congress government for 5 years... No ‘Operation Lotus’ here.”

On Thursday, Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania disqualified six Congress MLAs who defied party line by cross-voting in the recent Rajya Sabha polls and abstained from voting on the Budget. The MLAs include Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Devinder Kumar Bhutoo, Ravi Thakur, and Chetanya Sharma.

In an effort to showcase unity amidst the turmoil, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu convened a breakfast meeting with party MLAs at his official residence, although some notable figures like state cabinet minister Vikramaditya Singh chose not to attend.

Speaking to the media alongside party observer Bhupinder Hooda, Shivakumar stated that after individual discussions with Congress MLAs and deliberations with Sukhu and state Congress chief Pratibha Singh, internal differences had been resolved. It was agreed to form a coordination committee to address internal matters, with Hooda mentioning, “A 6-member coordination committee comprising the CM, PCC, Deputy CM, and three members will be formed.”

However, despite efforts to project unity, underlying tensions within the party remain palpable. State Congress president Pratibha Singh expressed concern that the disqualification of the six MLAs could impact parliamentary elections in the state, criticising the lack of dialogue as a contributing factor.

Former chief minister and Leader of the Opposition Jairam Thakur criticised the government's handling of the situation, alleging manipulation to pass the Budget due to a lack of majority, echoing broader condemnation of Congress behaviour nationwide.

Insiders suggest that while the Congress high command may have temporarily placated rebel MLAs led by Vikramaditya Singh, long-term stability remains uncertain. Failure to address the balance of power could potentially reignite rebellion within the state.