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Crucial test for Sukhu, bypolls to six Himachal assembly seats to be held on June 1

New Delhi: Bypolls will be held in six assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh on June 1, coinciding with the seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls, on the vacancies that arose due to the disqualification of six Congress MLAs who had cross-voted in Rajya Sabha election last month and defied the party whip in the House during cut motion.

The announcement about the bypolls on 26 assembly seats across various states was made by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar during the press conference on Saturday to announce the schedule of Lok Sabha polls.

In Himchal Pradesh, the bypolls will be held in Lahul and Spiti, Dharamshala, Sujanpur, Barsar, Gagret and Kutlehar and these contests pose a stiff challenge for the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh which seemed to be on the brink following cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha election that led to the defeat of party nominee Abhishek Manu Singhvi even as the party had a clear majority in the assembly.

The problems for the ruling Congress compounded after Himachal Pradesh PWD Minister Vikaramaditya Singh resigned. His resignation was not accepted even as his mother and state Congress chief Pratibha Singh took jibes at the style of functioning of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu. A crisis in the ruling Congress was averted due to the intervention of central party leaders.

Congress in Himachal Pradesh has to prepare for the Lok Sabha polls as also for the crucial bypolls to six assembly seats.

BJP has 25 MLAs in the state assembly and Congress had won 40 seats in the assembly polls held in 2022. In the Rajya Sabha polls, three independents apart from six Congress rebels had voted for the BJP candidate with both BJP and Congress nominees getting 34 votes each.

The Election Commission announced the bypolls to five seats in Gujarat, four in Uttar Pradesh, two in West Bengal and one each in Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karanataka, Tripura, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.

All five assembly bypolls in Gujarat are being held due to the resignation of MLAs while that in Karnal in Haryana is being held due to the resignation of former Chief Minister Manhohar Lal Khattar, who is now the BJP candidate for Karnal Lok Sabha seat.

Voting in bypolls will coincide with the date of the Lok Sabha poll in the state and votes will be counted on June 4.

Disqualified Himachal Pradesh MLAs - Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Chaitanya Sharma and Devinder Kumar Bhutto - had moved the Supreme Court against the decision of the assembly speaker.

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