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“Congress Doomed From Centre to States,” Says BJP Rajya Sabha Winner

February 28, 2024
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Riding high on his and his party’s stunning victory in the lone Rajya Sabha seat in Himachal Pradesh, BJP leader Harsh Mahajan has declared that the Congress is a “gone case” and its government in the state will “fall very soon”. 

In an exclusive interview with NDTV on Wednesday, Mr Mahajan said that apart from the six Congress MLAs that cross-voted in the Rajya Sabha election on Tuesday, at least ten more legislators are in touch with him and are likely to make the switch to the BJP soon. For the Congress, Mr Mahajan’s remarks will sting even more because he was a long-time member of the party and had quit just ahead of the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh in 2022.

Fighting an uphill battle, the BJP won the Rajya Sabha election in the state on Tuesday despite having just 25 MLAs in the 68-member Assembly, against the Congress’ 40. It was helped by a draw of lots going in its favour after a tie. 

Attributing his victory to the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu government’s performance in the state and the people and legislators’ “annoyance” with it, Mr Mahajan said, “I have been a part of Himachal politics for 45 years. I was in the Congress for a long time and joined the BJP about three years ago. So I know people from both parties very well. The discontentment among the Congress MLAs gave me a reason to speak to them and I am grateful to them for supporting me.”

Asked about the resignation as minister of Vikramaditya Singh, son of late Congress leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Mr Mahajan – who was known to be close to the leader – said, “There is so much discontentment, and the final outcome will be the fall of the government as soon as possible. Decisions like the Speaker suspending BJP MLAs are delay tactics. The final outcome, which will come very soon, will be the fall of this government.”

Pointing out that six Congress MLAs and three Independents had voted for him, Mr Mahajan claimed he is in touch with at least 10 more legislators from the party who are willing to join the BJP. 

On whether the Congress Rajya Sabha candidate, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, being an ‘outsider’ played a role in his victory, the BJP leader said, “I know every MLA closely and I have groomed many of them. The fact that I am a son of the soil helped me. I think the people of Himachal Pradesh put the pressure on the MLAs that they needed.”

To a question on whether the Congress sending crisis managers like Karnataka Deputy Chief  Minister DK Shivakumar and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda will help, Mr Mahajan pointed to factionalism within the party and said there are many contenders for the chief minister’s post.

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In a sharp attack on his former party, the BJP leader said, “This (the leaders’ intervention) is not going to work. The Congress party has been dismantled from the Centre to the states. Everybody has faith in PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and JP Nadda. The Congress is a gone case now. I think it is the beginning of the end for the Congress in the states as well.”

Mr Mahajan said the consecration of the Ram Temple last month has also helped the BJP in Himachal, which, he said, is a “98% Hindu state”. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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