Himachal Pradesh's ruling Congress MLA Ram Kumar, arrested in a murder case in adjacent Haryana, was today suspended from primary membership of the party.
PCC chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu said Kumar had also been removed from the post of general secretary of HPCC forthwith and his suspension would remain in force till he was absolved of the murder charge.
Ram Kumar, son of former MLA, Lajja Ram, was elected from Doon Assembly constituency in Solan district and has not so far taken oath as MLA as he had been evading arrest in Jyoti murder case.
However, he surrendered before a court at Panchkula, Haryana, on January 8 after the court rejected his plea for anticipatory bail and remanded him to police custody.
Congress on its has got razor thin majority with 36 seats in the 68-member assembly in recent elections. After the election of B.B.L.Butail as Speaker, the effective strength of Congress had come down to 35 which now stands further down at 34 with the arrest of Kumar.
It is mandatory for newly-elected MLAs to take oath within 60 days after the election and in case Kumar fails to take oath his assembly membership can be quashed.
However, the government enjoys the support of three independent MLAs and lone Himachal Lokhit Party MLA.
Sukkhu said that under the given circumstances, he had no option but to take action against Kumar as Congress wanted to send a clear signal that crime, corruption and indiscipline would not be tolerated at any level.
The image of the party is more important than the interests of individuals, he added.