‘I don’t get rattled easily’: Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu

Published : Mar 21, 2024 11:00 IST - 3 MINS READ

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu at Darlaghat in Solan on March 10.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu at Darlaghat in Solan on March 10. | Photo Credit: ANI

The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh says the BJP cultivated the six rebel MLAs to cross-vote in the Rajya Sabha election.

Are you bothered by the cross-voting and the open defiance of some of your legislators?

I have been in politics for 35-36 years and have dealt with tough situations. I don’t get rattled easily.

Also Read | ‘We got nothing from the Centre’: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu

There were calls for your resignation following the Rajya Sabha election debacle.

Despite the cross-voting, we are still in majority. The BJP has 25 MLAs and we have 34. I had taken a lot of steps to eradicate corruption. It is possible that some of them [those who cross-voted] had been annoyed with me for taking up issues related to corruption in mining. Some of them had ministerial aspirations too. On the one side, there were principles I had to adhere to, and on the other, there were expectations of a compromise.

You admitted to being surprised by the outcome.

I have admitted that there was a lapse in assessing the situation. I could not anticipate their action as they [the rebel legislators] were with me the previous evening, and the morning prior to the voting. There was no reason for me to doubt them. Of course, political parties cannot issue a whip to their MLAs for elections to the Rajya Sabha.

This is the first time that such a thing has unfolded in the State. It seems to be a conspiracy against my government. Some of the annoyed MLAs wanted to remove me from chief ministership and hoped to bargain with the central command. There was an attempt to blackmail the high command. But then, the majority of the MLAs are with me and my government. 

I don’t blame those who cross-voted. The BJP cultivated them before the Rajya Sabha election.

Some of them accused you of ignoring them and the development works in their constituencies.

Nothing like that happened. Those who want to betray the party will make any allegation. If the MLAs were unhappy, they should not have registered their complaint in this way. I had an inkling of their disgruntlement because some of them wanted me to take some decisions which I wasn’t keen on. Now they stand disqualified. They should have known that a whip has to be respected in a Budget session.

It is not enough to allege that the BJP resorted to “Operation Lotus”. These things need a context to succeed.

This is the standard modus operandi of the BJP. That is all I have to say.

Do you enjoy the confidence of the Pradesh Congress Committee chief? She was openly critical of your style of functioning.

I am confident of anyone who has been appointed by the central command.

Will your government last the full term?

Yes, it will. I have the support of the majority of my MLAs.

Also Read | ‘We are fighting for structural change in Himachal Pradesh’

As and when the by-election happen, do you think your party nominees will win?

Yes, undoubtedly. The people of Himachal Pradesh do not favour things like attempts to destabilise a democratically elected government.

There is speculation that more people will decamp from the party.

No, no one is going. And I have not held anyone hostage in a five star hotel.

Has the party recovered from the setback?

Yes, we have. We have learnt our lessons. My biggest regret is that we could not get Abhishek Singhvi elected.

Will the current incident have an impact on the Lok Sabha results from Himachal Pradesh?

No, it won’t. The party has recovered from the setback. We will do very well in all four seats.

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