HP crisis: Congress MLAs termed 'kidnapped' return to Shimla from Panchkula

Six Congress MLAs, who had left for Haryana's Panchkula after cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha election, returned to Shimla on Wednesday.
Missing MLAs return to Himachal Pradesh
Missing MLAs return to Himachal Pradesh

Shimla/Panchkula | Six Congress MLAs, who had left for Haryana's Panchkula after cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha election, returned to Shimla on Wednesday.

The group also included three independent MLAs, who had accompanied the Congress MLAs to Panchkula on Tuesday.

All nine of them reached Himachal Pradesh Assembly and were greeted with thumping and slogans by BJP MLAs.

"Jai Shri Ram, Ban Gaya Kaam," the MLAs greeted them when they arrived.

The legislators, including Rajinder Rana and Ravi Thakur, had spent last night in a hotel in Panchkula and left this morning in a chopper from Tau Devi Lal Stadium, sources had earlier said.

The MLAs had arrived in BJP-ruled Haryana from Shimla on Tuesday after casting their votes in the Rajya Sabha poll. They are learnt to be in touch with the BJP for a possible coup in the state government.

According to reports, the MLAs were "disappointed" with the working style of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and seeking his replacement.

Ravi Thakur had on Tuesday dismissed Sukhu's claims that some party legislators were "kidnapped" and said he "can go anywhere" while referring to his visit to Panchkula.

Sukhu in Shimla alleged that "five to six" Congress MLAs were "kidnapped" and whisked away by the CRPF and the Haryana Police.

Speaking to reporters outside the guest house in Panchkula on Tuesday evening, Thakur, the MLA from Lahaul and Spiti, had said, "Hum ghoomne aye hain...this is my private time, so I can go anywhere," and denied Sukhu's charge that the lawmakers were kidnapped.

Replying to a question on the floor test in Himachal assembly, he said, "In the interest of Himachal Pradesh and Lahaul and Spiti, we supported Harsh Mahajan ji (BJP candidate) so that we can get more budget (from the Centre)." Thakur, Rana and four other Congress legislators were learnt to have reached the PWD Guest House in Panchkula. Later, they were reportedly taken to a hotel.

In a stunning upset for the ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP on Tuesday won the state's lone Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Harsh Mahajan defeating Congress stalwart Abhishek Manu Singhvi and apparently setting the stage for a no-trust motion in the assembly.

The contest resulted in a tie with both the Congress and the BJP candidates getting 34 votes, indicating that at least six Congress MLAs voted against the party. The result was then declared based on a draw of lots, officials said.

In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 legislators. The remaining three seats are held by independents.

Even before the result was formally declared, the buzz over the BJP bringing a motion of no confidence against the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu's 14-month-old government intensified.

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