9 ex-MLAs join BJP in HP

NEW DELHI, Mar 23:
Nine former Himachal Pradesh MLAs, including six disqualified Congress legislators and three Independents who resigned, joined the BJP on Saturday amid the continuing political crisis in the State.
The former lawmakers slammed the Congress Government in the State headed by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, saying development work has stalled since it came to power.
They joined the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Anurag Thakur, former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, its national general secretary Arun Singh and state unit president Rajeev Bindal.
Welcoming the former lawmakers into the party, Anurag Thakur said their presence will further strengthen the BJP as he accused the Congress Government in the State of failing to fulfil its promises, leading to all-round anger among people.
Anurag Thakur said six of the former lawmakers, despite being Congress MLAs, supported the BJP in the recent Rajya Sabha election as they chose to reflect the “public anger” against the Sukhu Government.
The former Congress MLAs who joined the BJP are Sudhir Sharma, Ravi Thakur, Rajinder Rana, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Chetanya Sharma and Devinder Kumar Bhutto — all disqualified on February 29 for defying a party whip to be present in the House and vote in favour of the state government during a cut motion and budget.
Ashish Sharma, Hoshiyar Singh and KL Thakur, who were elected as Independents and resigned on Friday, also joined the BJP, with Singh saying they decided to be part of the country’s development journey under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Development works in the state have stopped since the Congress came to power, he said.
BJP leaders cited a host of development measures taken by the Modi government for the state, including highway and rail projects, and said the former MLAs decided to strengthen the prime minister’s leadership.
These former lawmakers will be given due respect in the BJP, they said.
Jai Ram Thakur described the six former Congress MLAs’ joining the BJP as a big political development for such a small state, noting that several of these leaders had held senior positions within the party. (PTI)

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