BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan elected from Himachal amid cross voting by Congress MLAs

  • | Wednesday | 28th February, 2024

With Congress MLAs cross voting despite the party issuing a whip,  BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan on Tuesday won the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Himachal Pradesh, defeating ruling Congress Abhishek Manu Singhvi. Officials said the contest was tied at 34-34 votes, after which Mahajan was declared winner by a draw of lots. This is a major jolt for the Congress which came to power in the state in December 2022 and has 40 MLAs in the 68-member state assembly and claimed support of the independents. The result made it clear that nine MLAs, including six of the Congress, voted in favour of the BJP which was confident that Congress MLAs would exercise conscience vote.   Mahajan, a three-time Congress MLA and former minister, had resigned from the party in September 2022 ahead of the assembly polls and joined the BJP. In the run-up to the polls, he had been repeatedly saying that he knows all the MLAs very well, is in touch with them and was hopeful of victory. Mahajan had said he filed the nominations to be victorious and expressed the hope that the Congress members will exercise conscience vote. The shocking defeat could lead to political trouble for Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu after at least six Congress MLAs reportedly cross-voted to the saffron party.  As the counting of votes was underway, Chief Minister Sukhu made a startling allegation, saying that five to six Congress MLAs were abducted and whisked away by the CRPF and Haryana Police. The chief minister claimed that Leader of Opposition Jai Ram Thakur was threatening the polling officers by coming to the counting hall time and again.   It is understood that opposition BJP, which at present has 25 MLAs, would bring a no-confidence motion against the Sukhu government to test its legislative strength.

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