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Himachal crisis: All MLAs sorted out differences & will work under Sukhu’s leadership, says Shivakumar

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Shillong, February 29: Asserting that the political crisis in Himachal Pradesh has been almost averted, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar who was sent to the hill state as an observer, said that all Congress legislators have sorted out all their differences, and they would work together under the leadership of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.

Setting aside speculation of “dissent” among MLAs and ministers against the Chief Minister, Shivakumar, who was accompanying another observer — former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said: “Chief Minister Sukhu has accepted that some failures have happened, but they will not continue further. We have spoken to all MLAs personally. We have spoken to the PCC president and the CM. One round of discussion will happen later.

“All of them have sorted out their differences. They’ll work together. We are forming a coordination committee between the party and the government with five to six members. They will all work together to save the party and the government,” he added.

On the resignation of Cabinet minister Vikramaditya Singh, Shivakumar said he had already withdrawn the resignation.

On the continuation of the incumbent Chief Minister in the future too, he preferred not to comment but added: “All Congress MLAs are united and all is well in Himachal. The Congress would continue for a full five years.”

Shivakumar and two other observers were deployed by the high command to tackle the situation in Himachal, which unfolded after the debacle in the poll for lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state.

He said they held meeting with all party MLAs in the presence of Chief Minister Sukhu, state party chief Pratibha Singh, and party’s central observer, Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

“It is unfortunate that Congress lost the Rajya Sabha seat for which the CM had taken full responsibility,” he said.

He said a coordination committee was being constituted to take care of all the issues in the future.

It comprises the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, the state party chief besides three other members nominated by the central leadership.

Meanwhile, responding to a question on the political turmoil in the state, Himachal Pradesh unit Congress president Pratibha Singh said: “We regret that we could not make our candidate, who is an eminent lawyer (Abhishek Manu Singhvi), win the Rajya Sabha seat. Now we have the challenge of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections for which have started working. We will work hard and win all the four seats.”

Earlier on Thursday, to save the government, Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania declared the six rebel legislators cease to be members of the Assembly with immediate effect, saying “the MLAs defied party whip to vote in favour of the government on Financial Bill”.

He clarified that all six MLAs, who contested on the Congress symbol, attracted provisions of anti-defection law against themselves.

“I declare that the six persons cease to be members of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly with immediate effect,” he told the media here. The order was pronounced by the Speaker on the petition of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harsh Vardhan Chauhan, who sought the disqualification of six MLAs under the anti-defection law.

They also voted against the party to support BJP’s lone candidate for the Rajya Sabha.

The six Congress MLAs who faced action are Sudhir Sharma (Dharamsala) and Rajinder Rana (Sujanpur), both ministerial aspirants; Inder Dutt Lakhanpal (Badsar); Ravi Thakur (Lahaul-Spiti); Chaitnaya Sharma (Gagret); and Devender Bhutto (Kutlehar).

In the 68-member Assembly, the Congress had 40 MLAs, while the BJP had 25 and three independent MLAs.

Now, after the Speaker disqualified the six rebel Congress MLAs who voted in favour of the BJP, the strength of the House will come down to 62.

The halfway mark will be 31 and the majority will be 32, just two less than Congress’ strength. (IANS)

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