Himachal bypolls: BJP expels ex-minister Ram Lal Markanda, Rakesh Chaudhary - Hindustan Times
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Himachal bypolls: BJP expels ex-minister Ram Lal Markanda, Rakesh Chaudhary

May 17, 2024 04:25 PM IST

Upset with BJP fielding Congress turncoats, Markanda, Chaudhary are contesting as Independents against party candidates in Lahaul-Spiti and Dharamshala assembly segments

Taking a strict view of their contesting the June 1 assembly byelections in Himachal Pradesh against the party nominees as Independent candidates, the BJP on Friday expelled Ram Lal Markanda and Rakesh Chaudhary for at least six years.

The BJP on Friday expelled former minister Ram Lal Markanda and Rakesh Chaudhary for six years for contesting the June 1 assembly byelections as Independents from Lahaul-Spiti and Dharamshala against the party candidates. (HT file photos)
The BJP on Friday expelled former minister Ram Lal Markanda and Rakesh Chaudhary for six years for contesting the June 1 assembly byelections as Independents from Lahaul-Spiti and Dharamshala against the party candidates. (HT file photos)

Markanda, a former minister, and Rakesh Chaudhary had filed their nomination papers as Independent candidates from Lahaul-Spiti and Dharamshala assembly constituencies, respectively.

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As the last date for withdrawing nominations ended on Friday, state BJP chief Rajeev Bindal issued the expulsion orders. “You are contesting the assembly elections as independents against the party (BJP) candidates. Your decision amounts to indiscipline. Hence, taking disciplinary action, your preliminary membership has been revoked and you are expelled from the party for six years,” the orders read.

The Lahaul-Spiti and Dharamshala assembly seats fell vacant along with four other constituencies from where Congress legislators rebelled against the party and voted in favour of the BJP during the Rajya Sabha elections in February, creating a crisis for the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led Congress government.

The six Congress rebel legislators – Sudhir Sharma (Dharamshala), Rajinder Rana (Sujanpur), Ravi Thakur (Lahaul-Spiti), Inder Dutt Lakhanpal (Barsar), Chetanya Sharma (Gagret) and Devinder Kumar Bhutto (Kutlehar) – cross-voted during the Rajya Sabha elections and joined the BJP, following which they were the tickets for the by-polls.

Both Markanda and Chaudhary were upset with the party fielding Congress turncoats and had resigned from the party.

Party sources said they were trying for the Congress ticket but could not get it. The Congress fielded Anuradha Rana in Lahaul-Spiti and former mayor Devinder Singh Jaggi in Dharamshala.

The six assembly byelections are being held along with the parliamentary elections in four constituencies in Himachal Pradesh in the seventh phase on June 1. The results will be announced on June 4.

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