The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday announced that it will field all six disqualified Congress MLAs in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly bye-elections.

The six disqualified legislators, along with three Independents who resigned from the Assembly, had joined the BJP on March 23.

The Hindutva party now has 28 MLAs in the 68-member House. The state’s ruling Congress has 34 seats. The bye-polls in the state will take place on June 1 for the Assembly constituencies that were held by the six disqualified MLAs, along with the state’s four Lok Sabha seats. The counting will take place on June 4.

The BJP has fielded former Congress MLAs: Rajinder Rana from the Sujanpur Assembly constituency, Sudhir Sharma from Dharamshala, Inder Dutt Lakhanpal from Barsar, Devinder Kumar Bhutoo Kutlehar, Ravi Thakur from Lahaul and Spiti, and Chetanya Sharma from Gagret.

The three Independent MLAs who joined the BJP are Ashish Sharma, Hoshiyar Singh and KL Thakur.

The Congress MLAs had been disqualified by Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania on February 29, days after they cross-voted in favour of BJP candidate Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha elections.

Before the disqualification of the six MLAs, the Congress had 40 legislators in the 68-member Assembly. While the BJP had 25 seats, the remaining three members were independents.

The Rajya Sabha election resulted in a tie with both candidates securing 34 votes. This indicated that the six Congress MLAs and the three Independents had voted for BJP’s Mahajan. After the tie, Mahajan was declared the winner based on a draw of lots, as per the procedure.

The six MLAs have challenged the speaker’s disqualification order in the Supreme Court. The court has refused to stay the disqualification order.