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Priyanka Gandhi played ‘pivotal’ role in ‘foiling Operation Lotus’ in HP: Sources

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NEW DELHI, Feb 29: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra played a “pivotal” role in protecting people’s mandate in Himachal Pradesh, remaining in constant touch with Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, chief minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and senior leaders to “foil” the BJP’s ‘operation Lotus’, sources said Thursday.

This came after the Congress asserted that the situation in Himachal Pradesh is “completely under control” of the party and the BJP has “failed” in its attempts to “destabilise the elected government” there.

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“The way Congress MLAs rebelled in Himachal Pradesh during the Rajya Sabha elections, it seemed that another state would be lost from the hands of the Congress. But the high command of the party showed activeness and strictness, as it not only averted the crisis of rebellion but the government was also saved,” a party source said.

The sources alleged that the BJP had “hatched a complete conspiracy” to topple the government in Himachal Pradesh but as soon as there was a hint of rebellion, the high command became active.

“Party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi immediately became active and took the lead herself along with senior party leaders. Senior leaders Bhupinder Singh Hooda, DK Shivakumar and Bhupesh Baghel were sent as observers and given strict instructions that they had to take everyone along,” the source said.

They also conveyed the stern message that anyone rebelling or working against the party will not be tolerated.

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The sources said that Priyanka Gandhi remained in constant touch with the party president, the chief minister, ministers and all important leaders, and did not allow any laxity.

“This deflated the BJP’s Operation Lotus. On the other hand, in this entire episode, the image of Himachal Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu was strengthened,” the source said.

Priyanka Gandhi was the face of the Congress’ campaign in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections in 2022. She has earlier also played the role of a “trouble-shooter” for the Congress.

Himachal Pradesh Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on Thursday disqualified six Congress MLAs who had cross-voted in the recent Rajya Sabha polls for the lone seat in the state.

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They had also abstained from voting on the Budget in the assembly, defying a party whip to vote in favour of the government on the Finance Bill. This was stated to be the reason for their disqualification.

Amid the crisis, chief minister Sukhu held a breakfast meeting with party MLAs at his official residence, in an apparent show of unity.

In the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly, the Congress has 40 MLAs while the BJP has 25 legislators. The remaining three seats are held by independents. (PTI)




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