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New Delhi: Himachal Pradesh assembly speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania terminated the membership of 6 rebel MLAs who defied the party whip to vote in favour of the government on the Finance Bill in the House.The disqualified MLAs are Rajinder Rana, Sudhir Sharma, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal, Devinder Kumar Bhutoo, Ravi Thakur and Chetanya Sharma.

Addressing reporters here, Pathania, who had reserved his verdict on the disqualification of the MLAs on Wednesday, said the legislators attracted the anti-defection law by defying the Congress whip as they were elected on the party’s tickets. “These six MLAs are disqualified and cease to be members of Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly with immediate effect,” the Speaker said.

These MLAs had cross-voted in favour of BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha elections on Tuesday. Later, they abstained from voting on the budget in the assembly.

The petition was filed by Congress MLA and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harsh Wardhan Chauhan under the anti-defection law for disqualification of the six MLAs.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Speaker said that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister had filed a petition against the six MLAs of the Congress party because the anti-defection law attracts proceedings against them.

The Congress government in the state faces a crisis after six MLAs crossed sides and are learnt to be in touch with the BJP. The Congress has 40 MLAs, while the BJP has 25 in the 68-member state assembly. The remaining three seats are held by independents.

The Congress had managed to pass the state budget after the speaker suspended 15 BJP MLAs for allegedly creating a ruckus in his chamber, a move that came under severe criticism from the BJP.

“The BJP has 25 MLAs. The number increased to 34 after the Rajya Sabha voting. This created a danger for the government… They had to pass the budget somehow otherwise the government would fall. For this, they had to decrease the no. of BJP MLAs. 15 MLAs including me have been suspended… We were suspended to save the Congress government. After our suspension, they passed the budget” BJP leader Jairam Thakur said.

The BJP has claimed the Congress had lost the moral standing to be in power after losing majority in the Assembly.