Chandigarh Mayoral Election: “Will Approach High Court For Fresh Mayoral Polls”: Raghav Chadha

'Will Approach High Court For Fresh Mayoral Polls': Raghav Chadha

The AAP and the Congress contested the Chandigarh mayoral polls in an alliance.


AAP leader Raghav Chadha on Tuesday questioned the Chandigarh mayoral poll process and said they will approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking fresh elections.

The BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls, winning all three posts, including that of mayor, as it defeated the Congress-AAP alliance.

Mr Chadha said the poll process was not only “unconstitutional and illegal” but also an act of “deshdroh” (treason) as he accused the BJP of “orchestrating” it after sensing its defeat in the election.

Accompanied by senior Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal, the AAP MP said they will approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking fresh elections and also action against the presiding officer.

BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar defeated AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar, who was fielded as part of an alliance with the Congress, to win the post of mayor.

Mr Sonkar polled 16 votes while Mr Kumar secured 12. Eight votes were declared invalid.

The councillors of the AAP and the Congress later boycotted the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, leading to BJP candidates Kuljit Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma securing the posts.

The poll results came as a setback for the AAP and the Congress which were contesting the mayoral polls in an alliance.

“What we saw in the Chandigarh mayoral polls today was not only unconstitutional and illegal but also was an act of ‘deshdroh’,” alleged Mr Chadha while speaking to reporters here.

He said the AAP-Congress alliance was destined to win the Chandigarh mayoral polls as they had 20 votes in the 35-member Chandigarh Municipal Corporation House.

“Victory of our alliance was certain, but sensing imminent defeat, the BJP hatched conspiracies. First, the presiding officer, who was to conduct polls on January 18, was made to fall ill. Thereafter an attempt was made to buy councillors of the AAP. When BJP’s ‘operation lotus’ failed, then they carried out a fraud (in the mayoral polls),” he alleged.

Mr Chadha said elections were held with Anil Masih, who was an office-bearer of the BJP’s minority wing, being announced as the presiding officer.

“BJP’s presiding officer did not allow any election agent of any party to come forward during counting of votes. Whenever counting takes place, election agents of parties are allowed to come,” he said.

The AAP leader further alleged that the presiding officer himself used his pen on certain ballot papers and declared them invalid during counting.

“It was for the first time that out of 36 votes (including the vote of the Chandigarh MP), eight votes were declared invalid,” he said while demanding an FIR against the presiding officer.

Congress leader and former Union minister Bansal said that such “jungle raj” was never seen and blamed the BJP for it.

Replying to a question, Mr Chadha said, “This is not a setback for one coalition or one party. It is a setback for India’s democracy and as a democrat, we are aggrieved, we are flabbergasted.”

“We are worried as to what will happen in upcoming 2024 polls if the BJP can stoop to such a low level and commit forgery and illegality. The BJP can go to any level to rig the election process and indulge in every possible electoral fraud and electoral malpractice,” he added.

The MP said his party will approach the high court, seeking to set aside Tuesday’s “electoral fraud”, order fresh elections and appoint a retired high court judge as presiding officer for the poll.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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