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"Natural for MLAs to be upset": Himachal Congress chief Pratibha Singh takes dig at CM Sukhu

Shimla: Even as Himachal Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu held a breakfast meeting with MLAs to deal with the crisis facing his government, the state Congress president Pratibha Singh and her MLA son Vikramaditya Singh continued to exert pressure on him, saying they had highlighted issues they thought "were not correct".
Pratibha Singh, wife of former Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh, appeared to back the six rebel MLAs who had cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha elections, saying it was natural for MLAs to be upset.
"Definitely, why not? When it has been more than a year and you take no cognizance or listen to them, it is natural for them to be upset. Had you sat them down, talked to them and found out a solution, this situation would not have occurred," Pratibha Singh said, answering a query.
The state Congress chief invoked the legacy of her late husband, saying that she was only following his sentiments for the state.
"Whatever step we took, keeping in mind the sentiments of the people of Himachal Pradesh, people are connected with us. The legacy of Virbhadra Singh is with us. We are going ahead, following in his sentiments of what he wanted for the state. We brought to their (party high command) knowledge again and again about whatever we thought was not correct. We said these things before them in yesterday's meeting as well. We are waiting to see what decisions they take," Pratibha Singh,MP, said.
She also maintained that her son and MLA Vikramaditya Singh stood by his decision to step down from the state cabinet.
"Kaayam hain, bilkul kaayam hain," she said when asked if Vikramaditya Singh still stands by his decision to resign as Himachal Pradesh minister.
Meanwhile, Vikramaditya Singh, who on Wednesday agreed not to press his resignation, continued to keep the Congress top brass guessing.
While he has maintained that he would not press the issue of his resignation, he stayed away from a breakfast meeting called by CM Sukhvinder Sukhu. Thirty-two MLAs were present at the breakfast meeting while Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania adressed the media on his decision to disqualify six MLAs.
"I had said that I won't press it. Dialogue is underway. Observers are here and they trying to set everything right. We will speak with them again...Himachal is 'devabhoomi', it has blessings of the deities and I had also gone to Ayodhya and took blessings of Lord Ram. So, we have everyone's blessings. There is no problem," Vikramaditya Singh said.
The Congress MLA is keeping his cards close to his chest, chosing his words carefully when questioned about the decision of the Speaker to disqualify the six rebel MLAs.
"It is not right for me to say anything on this as of now. Our observers have come here and they have witnessed and understood the situation. The Speaker has taken this decision. So, I don't think it is correct for me to make a comment on the same. As I said, we will speak with the observers, and we will see what the future course of action will be," Vikramaditya Singh told ANI on Thursday.
Earlier, the Speaker disqualified the six Congress MLAs who cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha polls.
The six MLAs who have been disqualified are Sudhir Sharma, Rajinder Rana, Davinder K Bhutto, Ravi Thakur, Chaitanya Sharma and Inder Dutt Lakhanpal.
After the 2022 Assembly elections, the Congress had 40 MLAs, while the BJP had 25 in the 68-member state assembly. The remaining three seats are held by independents.
With the six rebel MLAs disqualified, the strength of the House has come down from 68 to 62 and the halfway mark is 32 now. With the loss of six MLAs, the Congress now has 34 MLAs and the BJP with independents has 28. The fortunes of the Congress will now rest on its ability to keep the rest of its flock together.
The political crisis in the state was triggered by the Congress losing the Rajya Sabha election on Tuesday despite having a clear majority in the assembly.

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