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Supreme Court declares AAP's Kuldeep Kumar as elected mayor of Chandigarh in big setback to BJP

Manoj Sonkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeated Kuldeep Kumar after polling 16 votes against his rival's 12 to bag the mayor's post. Following which the AAP had approached Supreme Court.

Nivedita Dash Edited By: Nivedita Dash @Nivedita0503 New Delhi Updated on: February 21, 2024 6:12 IST
AAP's Kuldeep Kumar
Image Source : PTI AAP's Kuldeep Kumar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared AAP Mayor Candidate Kuldeep Kumar as elected mayor of Chandigarh in a big setback to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In a big win for Aam Aadmi Party, the Supreme Court on Tuesday took into note that all invalidated eight ballots have votes cast in favour of the AAP Mayor Candidate Kuldeep Kumar. It also directed that the votes at the poll shall be recounted and these eight shall be treated as valid. Thereafter, results be declared based on that, the Court observed.

"We direct that the election result by the presiding officer is quashed," Supreme Court said, adding "A fit case is made out for the initiation of proceedings under Section 340 CrPC against Anil Masih, Returning Officer of Chandigarh Mayor poll". It also directed Registrar Judicial to issue a notice to him to show cause as to why steps should not be initiated against him.

AAP leaders congratulate

"Kuldeep Kumar is a boy from a poor family. On behalf of INDIA alliance, many congratulations on becoming the Mayor of Chandigarh. This became possible only because of Indian democracy and the Honorable Supreme Court. We have to preserve the impartiality of our democracy and autonomous institutions at any cost," Arvind Kejriwal said on X. 

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also said, "At last truth prevailed... We welcome the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Mayor election in Chandigarh... CJI declared AAP's Kuldeep Kumar as Mayor, upholding the 8 votes rejected by the Presiding Officer... They have got a befitting reply to the hooliganism openly committed by BJP... Many congratulations to the people of Chandigarh on this big victory of democracy..."

Manoj Sonkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeated Kuldeep Kumar after polling 16 votes against his rival's 12 to bag the mayor's post. Sonkar, however, resigned subsequently, while three AAP councillors defected to the BJP.

Pulling up Returning Officer Anil Masih, CJI showed the ballots to the lawyers and observed that all eight had received the stamp for Kuldeep Kumar, AAP’s councillor, and the votes were cast for him. "What the Returning Officer Anil Masih does is, he puts a single line. Yesterday he told the Supreme court that he put the lines because the ballot papers were defaced. Where is the ballot paper defaced?"

Masih has been accused of defacing eight ballot papers that were declared invalid. Earlier, the returning officer admitted to putting ‘X’ marks on the eight ballot papers to ensure they do not get mixed.

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