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3 Independent MLAs Withdraw Support To Nayab Saini Govt, Reducing It To Minority

However, no immediate threat of the government falling; Constitution provides cushion of 4 more months; assembly elections due in Sept-Oct

Weeks ahead of the May 25 Lok Sabha polls in the state, three of the independent Haryana MLAs supporting the Nayab Singh Saini led BJP government on Tuesday (07.05.2024) announced that they are withdrawing their support to the government and henceforth will be supporting the Congress, reducing the government to a minority, but with no immediate threat of the government falling.

Though the three MLAs – Sombir Sangwan from Charkhi Dadri, Dharampal Gondar from Nilokheri, and Randhir Gollen from Pundri – made the announcement in the presence of former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and state Congress president Udai Bhan at a press conference in Rohtak, they are yet to convey their withdrawal of support decision in writing to the Vidhan Sabha speaker.

Earlier, there was speculation that a fourth independent MLA supporting the government – Rakesh Daulatabad from Badshapur – would also join them in announcing the decision but at the time of the evening press conference only these three turned up.

At the press conference, state Congress president Udai Bhan asserted that the BJP with 40 MLAs in the 90-member vidhan sabha (with a current strength of 88), and needing support of 45 members for a majority, had been reduced to a minority. Therefore, the Nayab Singh Saini government had no moral right to stay in office. The chief minister should resign immediately and fresh elections should be held to the Vidhan Sabha, he added.

On the other hand Hooda demanded imposition of President’s rule in the state.

However, this is unlikely to happen because of the constitutional provision which provides cushion of four more months to the Nayab Singh Saini government, which successfully defeated a no-confidence motion piloted by the Congress on March 13, 2024 immediately after Manohar Lal unexpectedly resigned as chief minister and Saini took over from him.

At that time the BJP government had been supported by these three and other independent MLAs along with some legislators from the JJP despite the BJP-JJP having earlier broken off their more than four years post-poll alliance. As per a constitutional provision, no-confidence motion cannot be brought up in the state assembly for six months from the date of the last motion.

Even otherwise, with assembly elections due to be held in the state in September-October this year, no party, including the Congress, would seriously try to topple the government. Congress, the second largest party in the state assembly, with 30 MLAs, 10 less than the ruling BJP, does not find itself in a comfortable position to muster a majority.

It was widely anticipated that the independent MLAs, who supported the Nayab Singh Saini government sail through the no-confidence motion, will be accommodated in the new ministry, but that did not happen, which could be one of the reasons for three of them to switch their support to the Congress.

It remains to be seen how much this switchover will help the Congress in its electoral prospects both in the forthcoming Lok Sabha, as well as the following Vidhan Sabha elections.

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