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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 April 2024

At least nine more MLAs in touch with us: Disqualified Himachal Congress MLA Rajinder Rana

On the other hand, CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu claimed that '80 per cent of the Congress is together' and the rest were dissatisfied over 'trivial issues'

PTI Chandigarh, Shimla Published 02.03.24, 02:59 PM
Rajinder Rana

Rajinder Rana X / @Rajinderrana999

Rebel Himachal Pradesh Congress MLA Rajinder Rana on Saturday claimed that nine more party legislators "feeling suffocated" by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's style of functioning were in touch with them.

Rana along with five other Congress MLAs, who had cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls, have been disqualified from the Assembly for abstaining from voting on the cut motion and finance bill.

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In an exclusive interview to PTI-Videos, Rana alleged that CM Sukhu's "friends" were running the state government. He claimed that the elected representatives, especially the ministers, were feeling "suffocated and humiliated".

"Besides the six Congress and three independent legislators that cross-voted in favour of the BJP in the Rajya Sabha polls, nine more party MLAs are in touch with us," he said.

Rana termed Sukhu "liar number one" and alleged that he was trying to twist the facts.

"Neither Public Works Department Minister Vikramaditya Singh had told the chief minister that he is meeting the Congress rebels at Panchkula nor the CM had sent him," Rana said.

"Vikramaditya Singh, who met us on his way to Delhi, did not ask us to patch up. He has his own grievances against the government which failed to provide land for installing Virbhadra Singh's statue and interfered in his functioning," he added.

Sukhu on Friday said Vikramaditya Singh had informed him that some Congress rebels have approached him and they wish to come back following which the PWD minister was told to talk to the rebel MLAs and the Congress' central leadership.

Ruling out any possibility of returning to the Congress, Rana said, "After the observers said Sukhu would continue as the CM, there is no scope for compromise." "No rebel MLAs wish to come back. The question of working with the CM who has put Himachal Pradesh on back gear does not arise and we have also conveyed our stance to the observers who called us on phone," he added.

In a stunning upset for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP on Tuesday won the state's lone Rajya Sabha seat despite being in minority with just 25 MLAs.

Defending the cross-voting in Rajya Sabha polls, Rana said, "We were upset over fielding Abhishek Manu Singhvi, an outsider, (in the Rajya Sabha polls) by ignoring senior Congress leaders like Asha Kumari, Ram Lal Thakur and Kaul Singh who had also won the assembly polls." "We cross-voted to safeguard the self respect and interests of Himachal Pradesh... We would prefer to sit at home rather than face humiliation," he added.

Referring to the chief minister's "black snakes" remark at a public meeting in Dharampur on Friday, Rana said Sukhu has "lost his mental balance" and added the claims of the Congress government being stable was "false".

"If the CM is sure of his majority then why the security of some Congress MLAs have been beefed up and efforts are on to allure the MLAs," he asked.

Addressing a public meeting in Dharampur in Solan district, Sukhu had said, "The six black snakes of the Congress party sold their honour and tried to des-stablise the government by abstaining from voting on a budget which had welfare schemes for the poor." Rana said that Hamipur district was a stronghold of the BJP, which was winning all the five Assembly seats.

"But by the hard work of our workers, there was a U-turn and the BJP failed to open its account in this district in the 2022 assembly polls...Yet the Congress leaders in Hamirpur have been sidelined which has not gone well with the voters," said Rana.

"But after the Congress government was formed, we only suffered humiliation and the hopes of our workers were belied," he alleged.

Rana further said that rather than having a big heart, the chief minister resorted to petty actions and the stone crushers of the families of Independent MLAs Ashish Sharma and K L Thakur were closed.

"From day one, the chief minister has been cribbing about paucity of funds. If you don't have money then how would you fulfill the promises made before the last assembly polls," he asked.

Another disqualified Congress MLA Inder Dutt Lakhanpal told PTI, "Some people will now call us rebels or traitors. But we aren't. We listened to our conscience. It was our personal decision." The chief minister earlier told PTI that the politics of horse trading by the BJP has not gone well with the people of Himachal Pradesh, which is known as "devi bhoomi".

Sukhu said that 80 per cent of the Congress is united and resentment in 20 per cent is over a small issue which would be resolved.

"It is my responsibility as the CM to resolve the differences and efforts are afoot in this direction," he added.

About the BJP's claim that the Himachal Pradesh government can collapse, the chief minister said, "The BJP's spirits are high after the cross-voting but this kind of situation won't arise again." "The situation will surely get better after the formation of the coordination committee. We will fight the Lok Sabha elections with full power as the Congress has provided an honest and transparent governance in the state in the last 14 months," he added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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