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Cong Minister in Himachal quits, Speaker suspends 15 BJP MLAs

Cong Minister in Himachal quits, Speaker suspends 15 BJP MLAs

Amid escalating political turmoil in Himachal Pradesh, Vikramaditya Singh, son of the late six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, tendered his resignation as the Public Works Department (PWD) minister on Wednesday.

The move comes in the wake of the Congress party's defeat in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in the state, where BJP's Harsh Mahajan emerged victorious over Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Vikramaditya Singh's resignation has intensified the crisis within the Congress government led by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, which has been in power for approximately 14 months.

Singh criticized the functioning of the government under Sukhu's leadership, further exacerbating the challenges faced by the party in the state.

The resignation announcement by Vikramaditya Singh came moments before the commencement of the Assembly session, where the State Budget was slated to be presented. He expressed his inability to continue as a minister in the prevailing circumstances and indicated that he would decide his future course of action after consulting with his supporters.

Singh emphasized his commitment to supporting what he deemed right while opposing the wrong, implying a potential divergence from the party's stance.

The Congress party in Himachal Pradesh is grappling with internal dissent and defections, as highlighted by the six MLAs who reportedly voted for the BJP candidate in the recent Rajya Sabha polls. This act of cross-voting has further weakened the party's position in the state.

Meanwhile, the BJP, buoyed by its recent electoral success in the Rajya Sabha polls, is capitalizing on the disarray within the Congress ranks. Harsh Mahajan, the victorious BJP candidate, not only endorsed Vikramaditya Singh's decision to resign but also made bold assertions regarding the imminent downfall of the Congress government.

15 MLAs from the BJP, among them Jai Ram Thakur, the Leader of Opposition in the Himachal Assembly, faced suspension from the House. The Speaker took this action citing alleged misbehaviour and disruptive behaviour such as shouting slogans.

Earlier in the day, Thakur had a meeting with the Governor where he voiced concerns that the Speaker might resort to suspensions as a strategy to avoid a division of votes and ensure the smooth passage of the Budget.

Mahajan asserted that the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh is on the brink of collapse and predicted that the BJP would soon assume power in the state. He attributed the suspension of 15 BJP MLAs by the Speaker of the Assembly to the Congress's desperation to cling to power, suggesting that such measures were aimed at thwarting any potential challenge to the ruling party's authority.

Moreover, Mahajan accused the Congress of resorting to unethical means, including the use of monetary inducements and manipulation of central agencies, to undermine democratically elected governments. He alleged that similar tactics were employed by the Congress in both Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, insinuating a pattern of subversion and malpractice.

The political landscape in Himachal Pradesh is fraught with uncertainty as the Congress grapples with internal dissent, while the BJP seizes the opportunity to consolidate its position.

The resignation of Vikramaditya Singh, coupled with allegations of cross-voting and power struggles within the Assembly, underscores the deep-seated divisions and power struggles engulfing the state's political establishment.

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