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Simmering Discontent Over Not Being Made Ministers Blew Up Against CM Sukhu

The rebellion was led by MLAs Sudhir Sharma and Rajendra Rana, who got four other MLAs to rebel while BJP’s winning candidate Harsh Mahajan, who was in touch with the six MLAs, capitalised on their discontentment

Jai Sood

Shimla: There were tell-tale signs of trouble and simmering discontent within the ranks for a while, but the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led government in Himachal Pradesh chose to take it lightly. On Tuesday, six Congress MLAs voted for the BJP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections.


The rebellion was led by MLAs Sudhir Sharma and Rajendra Rana, who chose this moment to make their disgruntled voices heard. Sharma and Rana had a major grouse – they were not made ministers in the state government even though Rana had defeated BJP heavyweight Prem Kumar Dhumal in the 2012 elections. He won the Sujanpur seat again in 2017.


State Congress chief Pratibha Singh’s son and MLA Vikramaditya Singh on Wednesday said the case of some MLAs was ignored by Sukhu, which has led to the present situation. Sharma and Rana got four other MLAs to rebel – Inderdutt Lakhanpal, Davinder Kumar Bhutto, Ravi Thakur and Chaitanya Sharma. Another independent MLA from Hamirpur district, Ashish Sharma also voted for the BJP, while two more independents also moved to the saffron camp.

What came as a shocker for Sukhu is that two of the MLAs – Rana and Lakhanpal – are from his home district of Hamirpur. This is not the first time Rana has picked up the banner of revolt in public. Earlier too, he had written to Sukhu to remove the director general of police in an alleged paper leak matter and protested against the CM when he gave cabinet ranks to some who did not even contest the elections.

The BJP’s winning candidate, Harsh Mahajan, was in the Congress till 2022 and a former four-time MLA with close links to these six rebels. It is what contributed to the quick turn of events on Tuesday as all six MLAs had attended a dinner with the CM just a night before. Majahan, who was a minister in the previous Virbhadra Singh-led government, was in touch with the six MLAs and capitalised on their discontentment.

The quick turn of events shows that the decision to ignore Sharma and Rana for minister posts has cost Sukhu dear. Sources said this has also triggered an old rivalry within the party after Congress state president Pratibha Singh was overlooked for the chief minister’s chair in 2022 by the top leadership. The Sukhu-led government is to present the state budget on Wednesday. If this is not passed by a majority, the government will be seen as a minority.

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