Chandigarh mayor election: BJP’s Manoj Sonkar wins against AAP-Congress alliance candidate; Oppn cries foul | Chandigarh News

Chandigarh mayor election: BJP’s Manoj Sonkar wins against AAP-Congress alliance candidate; Oppn cries foul | Chandigarh News


The BJP’s Manoj Sonkar was declared the Mayor of Chandigarh on Tuesday after he won the mayoral polls with 16 votes against the 12 votes bagged by the Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Tita. Eight votes were declared invalid, which led Opposition leaders to raise allegations of rigging.

Ruckus followed after Sonkar took the mayor’s seat. As protests broke out against the presiding authority Anil Masih, marshals were called in to control the situation. The mayor will now conduct the election for the senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.

The polls are considered significant as it is the maiden electoral test of the Opposition’s INDIA alliance against the BJP and also saw the first alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress.

Protesting against the events that unfolded, Congress leader Pawan Bansal alleged that “the eight ballot papers were rejected in a premeditated manner.” He pointed out that the “Congress and AAP agents were not given access to the ballot paper. The presiding officer, who I would say is a shallow person, had been given one clear specification that he has to come out only after declaring the BJP candidate as the winner.”

“We were watching the live (feed). If you notice, the presiding officer immediately vacated the chair and the BJP’s candidate was standing beside immediately. The BJP members rushed in, took and tore the ballot papers before anyone could even go there and see,” Bansal added.

Festive offer

Congress president H S Lucky said the BJP “intentionally got a presiding officer who holds allegiance to them and he rigged it.” He further said, “While signing, he marked on eight votes to declare them invalid. This is injustice… Death of democracy. How can they manipulate the elections?”

Voting began after an hour’s delay

The polling process was held in the presence of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh. Voting, which was scheduled to start at 10 am, began after almost an hour’s delay as the deputy commissioner and some BJP councillors arrived late.

MP Kirron Kher, who is the ex-officio member of the House, cast her vote first. A total of 36 votes were polled during the hour-long process. While the AAP and Congress together had 20 votes, the BJP had 15 votes, plus one from the ex-officio member Kher.

In a first, mediapersons were denied entry to the press gallery to cover the election. Reporters could, however, watch the polling process on a screen installed in the conference room which had no audio output.

The election, initially scheduled to be held on January 18, was postponed to February 6 after the presiding officer took ill. After the Opposition councillors moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court over the postponement, the court directed that the polls be held on January 30.


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