Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu faces revolt; BJP eyes power in Himachal Pradesh

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The 68-MLA strong Himachal Pradesh Assembly is now ripe with political stability. The BJP Congress has a strength of 40 MLAs.

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 28: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu is facing prospects of losing his chair in Shimla after the shock defeat of the Congress leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, in the Rajya Sabha biennial elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is smelling an opportunity to wrest power in the hilly state.

Singhvi lost the Rajya Sabha election after nine of the Congress MLAs cross-voted in a dramatic turn of events in Shimla. One ailing Congress MLA had to be air-lifted. Singhvi was livid in his remark after he lost the poll to the BJP’s nominee Harsh Mahajan. Singhvi lashed out at the frailties of the Congress MLAs for cross-voting in favour of the BJP candidate. Incidentally, Mahajan is a former Congress leader.

The 68-MLA strong Himachal Pradesh Assembly is now ripe with political stability. The BJP Congress has a strength of 40 MLAs. Three independents also support the Congress. Yet, Sukkhu was not able to ensure the victory of Singhvi. This makes his position untenable as a section of the Congress MLAs, as per local media reports, have raised a banner of revolt.

Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka DK Shiva Kumar is also rushing to Shimla. Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Jairam Thakur is also slated to call on the Governor Soudan Singh. Incidentally, Soudan Singh was an active worker of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the BJP before he was appointed Governor.

The BJP has a strength of 28 MLAs, and the saffron outfit in the past has been able to make backdoor entries in power in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh by engineering largescale defections in the ranks of the Congress legislature party. The Congress has an option to buy peace with the restive party MLAs by going for a change in the CM in Shimla. This will be on the other hand an admission by the Congress high command that the party still lacks the ability to manage internal dissensions which were also seen in the past in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.

The shadow of political instability is likely to loom over Himachal Pradesh. Sukkhu had become the chief minister despite the claims of the widow of former state CM Virbhadra Singh, Pratibha Singh. She had reportedly been sulking after the Congress high command picked up Sukkhu, who was previously the state unit president of the party, for the post of the chief minister.     

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