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AAP, Congress move court alleging vote tempering in Chandigarh mayor elections

The opposition challenged the invalidation of eight votes, leading to a heated debate in the assembly. The Chandigarh Mayoral election, considered a litmus test, raises concerns about the integrity of the electoral process.

Nitin Kumar Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Updated on: January 30, 2024 16:10 IST
Raghav Chadha
Image Source : PTI AAP MP Raghav Chadha at Parliament House complex during Budget Session in New Delhi.

BJP's Manoj Kumar Sonkar emerged victorious in the Chandigarh Mayoral Election, defeating AAP-Congress Alliance candidate Kuldeep Singh. Allegations of foul play surface as Raghav Chadha, AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member, accused the BJP of employing unlawful tactics and questioned their intentions for the country.

A viral video added fuel to the controversy, showing an officer allegedly marking ballots improperly. 

AAP and Congress move Punjab-Haryana high court 

In response to the controversy surrounding the mayoral election results, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress have filed a petition in the Punjab-Haryana High Court. The plea, seeking an urgent hearing, highlights concerns over the integrity of the recently conducted mayoral elections in Chandigarh.

The opposition parties aim to bring the alleged irregularities and foul play to the court's attention, urging a thorough scrutiny of the electoral process. The petition is set for possible consideration tomorrow. This move comes after the presiding officer declared eight votes invalid, leading to the victory of BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar. AAP and Congress have accused the presiding officer, Anil Masih, of manipulating ballots, sparking immediate protests.

'Invalid votes' spark outcry

In a dramatic turn of events at the Assembly Hall of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC), the mayoral elections on Tuesday took an unexpected twist as the presiding officer declared eight votes from Congress and AAP councillors invalid. This decision ultimately led to BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar's victory.

Manoj Sonkar secured a total of 16 votes, surpassing AAP's Kuldeep Kumar, who received 12 votes, with the remaining eight declared invalid. The declaration of these results triggered immediate protests from AAP and Congress councillors, who raised serious allegations of foul play against the BJP.

Accusations were directed at the presiding officer, Anil Masih, by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress, both part of the I.N.D.I.A bloc. They claimed that Masih manipulated ballots during the counting process, citing footage purportedly showing him marking some ballots. This raised concerns about the overall integrity of the election process.

Invalid votes may result from various issues, including identifying marks on the ballot paper that could compromise the secrecy of the ballot and reveal voters' identities.

Raghav Chadha demanded immediate action against Anil Masih, insisting on filing a criminal case against him. Chadha went further, characterising the incident not just as unconstitutional and illegal but as an act of treason, labelling the mayoral elections in Chandigarh as treasonous.

Also read | BJP's Manoj Sonkar wins Chandigarh's mayor post, defeats I.N.D.I.A bloc in first direct contest

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