All eyes on Supreme Court for the future of Six disqualified Himachal MLAs amidst Electoral Turmoil

All eyes on Supreme Court for the future of Six disqualified Himachal MLAs amidst Electoral Turmoil

All eyes on Supreme Court for the future of Six disqualified Himachal MLAs amidst Electoral Turmoil

Dharamsala (Arvind Sharma)17/3/24

The Supreme Court is slated to review the plea of six former Himachal Pradesh MLAs on March 18, addressing their disqualification for not going with the party whip  and cross-voting in the recent Rajya Sabha elections. The lawmakers in question are Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma, and Devinder Kumar Bhutto who lost their legislative seats after defying the Congress party’s mandate to vote in favor of its candidate in Rajya Sabha poll  and instead they to support the BJP candidate.

Scheduled for a hearing by a two-judge bench, this petition represents a significant chapter in the ongoing political saga of Himachal Pradesh. The disqualification of these six legislators during the assembly highlighted a potential political upheaval, with their unexpected support for the BJP marking a departure from the expected allegiance to the Sukhu government.

This judicial review comes after an earlier session on March 12, wherein the apex court queried the petitioners on their decision not to seek recourse at the High Court against their disqualification.

The controversy stems from the February 27 Rajya Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh, during which these Congress MLAs engaged in cross-voting to favor BJP’s Harsh Mahajan, leading to their disqualification by Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on February 29. Since their disqualification, the affected MLAs have resided outside Himachal Pradesh, awaiting the outcome of their legal battle.

The timing of this legal review coincides with the Election Commission’s announcement of Lok Sabha elections, which also encompasses by-elections for 26 assembly seats nationwide, including the six vacated by the disqualified Himachal MLAs. These by-elections, scheduled for June 1 to coincide with the Lok Sabha polls, are unprecedented in Himachal Pradesh for their scale, involving Dharamshala, Lahaul Spiti, Sujanpur, Badsar, Gagret, and Kutlahar constituencies—previously held by Congress.

The upcoming by-elections present a critical juncture for the rebel leaders, who, merely 15 months after their legislative victories, face the prospect of re-election, potentially under a new banner or as independent candidates, depending on the Supreme Court’s decision.

#SupremeCourt #HimachalMLAs #ElectoralTurmoil #PoliticalSaga #Disqualification #JudicialReview #CrossVoting #ByElections

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