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Six Congress rebel MLAs in Himachal join BJP in Delhi

New Delhi: Six former Himachal Pradesh Congress MLAs who were disqualified as Congress legislators joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the national capital on Saturday.

Four-time MLA Sudhir Sharma, three-time MLA Ravi Thakur, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, first-time MLA Devendra Bhutto, Rajendra Rana, and first-time MLA Chaitanya Sharma, joined the BJP in the presence of Himachal Pradesh BJP President Rajiv Bindal, former Himachal CM Jairam Thakur and Union Minister Anurag Thakur.

Addressing the press conference, Anurag Thakur welcomed all six MLA's who joined the BJP today in Delhi.

"I welcome all the leaders who today joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Bharatiya Janata Party is not only the largest party in the world and we are fortunate to work under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The way country is moving ahead under PM Modi's leadership is remarkable. The people have faith in PM Modi's guarantees. After you (six MLAs) join the BJP, we will become stronger and have more power," Thakur said.

Anurag Thakur further said that the BJP will become stronger in Himachal Pradesh.

"The state government formed by the Congress party in the state by making false promises, was a big lie. The people are not happy in Himachal and that was seen in the Rajya Sabha elections," he added.

Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that we will keep moving forward to strengthen the party under the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Our aim is to make BJP stronger and Prime Minister Narendra Modi stronger. The newly joined BJP MLAs were not respected by the Congress party. The position they deserved in Congress were not given to them. We want to assure you that you will be given all respect in the party," Jai Ram Thakur said.

After joining the BJP, rebel Himachal MLA Sudhir Sharma said that all of us have joined the BJP on our own.

"What's the point of being an MLA when we are unable to fulfil the promises made to our people. That is why in the Rajya Sabha elections, we voted for Harsh Mahajan who is from our state. We didn't hide our vote, we showed it openly. We knew the eventual circumstances. Today, all of us have joined the BJP on our own... When a person's self-respect is hurt and there is no one to listen to you, you shouldn't stay there for long," Sudhir Sharma told ANI.

Soon after joining the BJP, rebel Himachal Pradesh MLA Rajendra Rana said that the Congress government is not fulfilling the guarantees it made to the people of Himachal Pradesh.

"We are answerable to the people, but when they asked us, we had no answer... The CM had become a dictator and would humiliate people.

There was no one to hear the MLAs. The government is not functioning according to the MLAs, but it is being run by Sikhvinder Sukhu and his aides. Himachal government is on the ventilator," Rajendra Rana said.

Earlier on Friday, three independent MLAs resigned from the Himachal Pradesh State Assembly.

The MLAs include KL Thakur from Nalagarh, Hoshiyar Singh from Dehra and Ashish Sharma from the Hamirpur assembly seat.

The Congress government led by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was last month plunged into a crisis after the BJP won the Rajya Sabha poll for the state's lone seat due to the support of these nine MLAs.

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 came down from 68 to 62 and the halfway mark was 32. With the loss of 6 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.

Himachal Pradesh has four Lok Sabha seats -- Hamirpur, Mandi, Shimla, and Kangra. The BJP had won all four seats in 2019.

The elections to the four Lok Sabha seats of Himachal Pradesh and bypolls to the six assembly constituencies that fell vacant with the disqualification of six rebel Congress MLAs will be held on June 1.

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