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Himachal Crisis Live Updates: ‘Govt Is Safe…’, Says CM Sukhu After Meeting Congress Observers |

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New Delhi: Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Wednesday said that they will continue to run the government for five years, amid a political turmoil in Himachal Pradesh after the Congress candidate lost the Rajya Sabha elections. “There is no question of resignation. The high command has not asked me or anyone else to resign,” Sukhu told PTI Videos while answering a question. He said, “The state BJP leaders did a lot of mischief. They did not have faith in their own people. They deployed CRPF and Haryana police. They used a helicopter.” The Congress suffered a shocking defeat in Himachal Pradesh, as the BJP won the state’s only Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan beating Congress heavyweight Abhishek Manu Singhvi and possibly paving the way for a no-confidence motion in the assembly.

The six Congress MLAs, who were given show-cause notice for violating the whip for Rajya Sabha polls on Tuesday, appeared before the Speaker with their lawyer and claimed that they did not receive all the relevant documents. The petition has been filed by the Congress against the six party MLAs who voted for the BJP in the Rajya Sabha elections.

8:50 PM: Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh says, “There is a difference between taking back the resignation and not pressing the resignation till the time the dialogue and the action of the observers is not complete… We have talked to the observers. We have informed them about the present situation… I will not press my resignation until a decision is taken. The final decision will be taken in the coming time…”

08:30 PM: Congress MP Rajeev Shukla says, “Our party observers who have come to Shimla are talking to the party MLAs and taking their opinion. First, they met the PCC Chief and also met Vikramaditya Singh. CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has said that he is not going to accept his resignation and he has also agreed not to press on his decision to resign…”

08:00 PM: Here’s what senior Congress leader Kaul Singh Thakur said after attending a meeting with party observers (Deepender Hooda, Bhupesh Baghel and DK Shivakumar) in Shimla in view of the ongoing political crisis in Himachal Pradesh. “Our government will be safe at all costs. It is unfortunate that despite having a majority, we lost the Rajya Sabha polls (in Himachal Pradesh). Being a senior Congress leader, I appeal my friends who have gone to return to the party fold.”

07:40 PM: After meeting with party Observers, Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu says, “…Discussion was held regarding elections. Our govt is safe…”

06:50 PM: Karnataka Deputy CM DK Shivakumar and senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda – appointed as the Congress Observers of Himachal Pradesh – meet Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. Party incharge for the state Rajeev Shukla and former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel also present.

06:30 PM: “I am sad over the fact they (rebel MLAs) might be upset with me over a leading advocate like Abhishek Manu Singhvi, but not voting for candidates who should have been sent to Rajya Sabha from Himachal is betrayal with the party,” says Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu amid the ongoing political crisis in the state.

06:00 PM: Congress observers Bhupendra Singh Hooda and DK Shivakumar will hold meeting with MLAs at 6 pm today.

05:45 PM: Here’s what Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh, who resigned from Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu cabinet earlier today, said about the party observers meeting in Shimla. “It is for the party’s high command to decide on the future course of action. I never was in pressure during my ministerial position; I am the one who creates pressure.”

05:30 PM: Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu visits Tara Devi temple in Shimla.

05:00 PM: Dk Shiv kumar And Bhupinder Hooda reaches Shimla Hotel

04:30 PM: On notice to 6 Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections yesterday, Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania says, “The hearing is underway… The Parliamentary Affairs Minister has filed a petition. When the petition came to me, then I, as a Speaker have to function like a Tribunal… The hearing was underway till 2 pm… The hearing will continue again at 4 pm…”

04:00 PM: Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu says “…We’ve brought disqualification motion against them (Congress MLAs who voted for BJP candidate in RS polls) and hearing for the same is underway. The budget was passed today and the conspiracy to topple our govt has been foiled and our govt will complete 5 years…”

03:45 PM: Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu says “One of the MLAs (who voted for BJP candidate in RS polls) has said to forgive him as he has betrayed the party…People of the state will give them an answer…” On Vikramaditya Singh’s resignation, CM says, “I have spoken with Vikramaditya Singh and he is my younger brother. There is no reason to accept his resignation. He has some grievances that will be solved.”

03:30 PM: Senior Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda leaves for Shimla. He has deployed by the party to address the ongoing political crisis in the hill state.

03.00 PM: On notice to 6 Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections yesterday, Advocate Satya Pal Jain says, “Notice has been served to them (by Speaker) as to why they should not be disqualified under the anti-defection law. I appeared on their behalf and we have said that we have only received the notice, not the copy of the petition, so a copy of the petition should be given to us and after that, we will present our stand. As per Rule 7, a minimum time of 7 days should be given. The hearing will be held again today at 4 pm…”

2.45 PM: Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Wednesday said people became disillusioned with the Congress-led Himachal Pradesh government within 14 months as it failed to fulfil the tall promises it made during the election. Speaking to reporters, Thakur said Congress MLAs voted against their own candidate in the Rajya Sabha election as they were angry at a non-Himachali being fielded from the state.

2.30 PM: On cross-voting, Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh says, “Accountability will definitely be fixed. Accountability was fixed in Haryana…There are two parts of this report – first, why did the cross-voting happen here and how was it allowed to happen. Second, what steps should be taken to save the government and uphold the mandate? When the report comes, discussions will be held and decision will be made. Until then, all reports and speculations are baseless.”

1.45 PM: Himachal Pradesh CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu denies reports of his resignation. “I am not someone who will get scared and I can say this with guarantee, that Congress is going to win when the Budget will be presented. The budget will be passed today. BJP is spreading rumours of my resignation. Congress is united…” he said.

1.10 PM: Congress observer DK Shivakumar asked people to not believe in hearsay and added that there is no crisis. “As per the directions of the Congress high command, I am reaching Himachal Pradesh. Also there is absolutely no need to indulge in any hearsay, as I am confident that Congress Party legislators will be loyal to the party and stay put with the mandate that has been accorded to them. However, what should be questioned and worrisome is the extremes to which BJP is going in terms of acquiring power, deliberately attempting to crush democracy and public mandate in the process,” said Shivakumar.

12.50 PM: Six rebel Congress MLAs have extended support to the BJP. On the other hand, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has also resigned from the post. 

12.15 PM: Rebel Congress MLAs were not being allowed to enter the assembly to attend the budget session.

– हिमाचल विधानसभा के गेट पर जबरदस्त हंगामा
– विधानसभा पहुंचे सभी बागी विधायक
– विधानसभा के गेट से विधायकों को अंदर नहीं आने दिया जा रहा@DDNewslive
— DD News Himachal (@DDNewsHimachal) February 28, 2024

12.00: BJP Rajya Sabha MP Harsh Mahajan said that Congress Government is toppling. “So such attempts are being made – to suspend them. These are delay tactics and are followed in every Vidhan Sabha…Congress has dismantled from here. All the attempts they make now will fail. BJP will form the Government here…Nine MLAs (who cross-voted) are in my support,” said Mahajan.

11.32 AM: 15 BJP MLAs including LoP Jairam Thakur, Vipin Singh Parmar, Randheer Sharma, Lokender Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Hans Raj, Janak Raj, Balbir Verma, Trilok Jamwal, Surender Shori, Deep Raj, Puran Thakur, Inder Singh Gandhi, Dileep Thakur and Inder Singh Gandhi, have been expelled by the Assembly Speaker for allegedly shouting slogans and misconduct in the Chamber of Speaker today.

11.15 AM: Himachal Pradesh Assembly speaker today suspended 15 BJP MLAs as they kept on demanding division of votes on the finance bill. Now, by expelling 14 BJP MLAs, the Congress govt has made its path clear for the passage of the budget bill.

11.05 AM: All I would like to say is that under the current circumstances, it is not correct for me to continue as a part of the government. So, I have decided that I am resigning from the Council of Ministers. I am resigning as a minister. In the time to come, I will have video consultations with my people and then decide about the future course of action, said Vikramaditya Singh.

10.50 AM: Himachal Pradesh minister and Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh said, “The chain of events that took place in the last 2-3 days is a matter of concern in a democracy, in Himachal Pradesh. This is concerning because the 70 lakh people of the state elected a government and after that gave the mandate to the Congress party. But such chain of events (cross-voting) occurring after that is a matter of concern.”

#WATCH | Shimla | Himachal Pradesh minister & Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh holds a press conference following Himachal Pradesh Rajya Sabha election result.

He says, “…There is no doubt that former CM Virbhadra Singh’s name was used in the (Assembly) election…This is a…
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2024

10.30 AM: Himachal Pradesh Budget Session today. BJP demands division of votes.

10.10 AM: Six Congress Himachal Pradesh’s legislators who cross voted in Rajya Sabha elections on Tuesday and were staying at a hotel in Haryana left for Shimla in a helicopter for the Budget Session of the state assembly on Wednesday. Earlier on Tuesday, CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had claimed that opposition leaders were obstructing the work of counting officials, and that “5-6 Congress MLAs were taken away in a convoy of the CRPF and Haryana Police.”

#WATCH | Haryana: Chopper boarded by Himachal Pradesh MLAs, takes off from Panchkula.
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2024

9.40 AM: Himachal Pradesh BJP Rajya Sabha MP Harsh Mahajan said that the BJP will form a government in the state. “BJP is going to form its government in the state. Some more MLAs of Congress are in touch with us. I got phone calls from some of their MLAs and ministers…The situation is going to change in the next few hours and you will see BJP will form its govt soon…For the next 10-20 years, Congress is not going to come to power here…” he said.

#WATCH | HP BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan – who won the Rajya Sabha Elections says, “BJP is going to form its government in the state. Some more MLAs of Congress are in touch with us. I got phone calls from some of their MLAs and ministers…The situation is going to change in the…
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2024

9.25 AM: Himachal Pradesh BJP Rajya Sabha MP Harsh Mahajan said that BJP is the game-changer in the politics. “People are upset with the Sukhu government. All good leaders are joining BJP. It is a future party…There has been cross-voting. On today’s date, Congress has lost its majority in the state. This Govt is not going to last for long…” he said.

08.50 AM: Watch: BJP Delegation led by LoP Jairam Thakur Meets Himachal Governor

#WATCH | Shimla: Himachal Pradesh LoP Jairam Thakur along with BJP’s legislative party met Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla at Raj Bhawan.
— ANI (@ANI) February 28, 2024

BJP Meets Governor

BJP has claimed that the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government in the state has lost its majority. Before meeting the governor today, former CM ahd LoP Jairam Thakur said, “We will apprise the Governor about what happened in the Assembly. We demanded division during the vote on the financial bill, it wasn’t allowed. The House was adjourned twice. This is not right, it has never happened in Himachal Pradesh. The government has lost the moral right to stay in power.”

Number Game

In the 2022 Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the Congress emerged victorious with 40 seats out of the 68-member house. Additionally, the party secured the backing of three independent MLAs.  The majority mark is 35. The BJP, on the other hand, attained 25 seats. There is speculation that if Congress loses the support of nine MLAs, its count would decrease to 31 MLAs.

Options With Congress

If the BJP demands a trust vote, the Assembly speaker may disqualify the rebel Congress MLAs as they not only violated party’s whip but also indulged in anti-party activity by cross voting. In that case, the majority mark will come down benefitting the Congress. 

Congress MLAs In Panchkula

After yesterday’s cross-voting, many Congress MLAs are in Panchkula along with some BJP MLAs. Zee News TV also reported that many Congress MLAs are upset with CM Sukhu and have urged the party’s high command to change the Chief Minister. However, they left for Shimla in a helicoptre to attend the budget session.

Congress Rushes Observers

After the cross-voting led to the defeat of the Congress candidate in the Rajya Sabha, the grand old party rushed two observers – Bhupinder Singh Hooda and DK Shivakumar – to Shimla. They will meet the MLAs and the Chief Minister to bring the situation under control and prevent the collapse of the Sukhu government.