In a dramatic turn of events during the mayoral elections at the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has alleged vote tampering, pointing to a video as evidence. The chaos ensued after eight votes from Congress and AAP councillors were declared invalid, leading to the victory of BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar, who secured 16 votes against AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar’s 12.
The video, shared by AAP, allegedly shows the presiding officer, Anil Masih, making marks on some ballots during the counting process. The AAP and Congress, contesting as part of the INDIA bloc, have accused Masih of manipulating the ballots, raising concerns about the fairness of the election process.
AAP leader Raghav Chadha, a Rajya Sabha member, has demanded action against the presiding officer and the filing of a criminal case. The High Court has been approached by AAP, seeking an urgent hearing on the matter, with Advocate General Gurminder Singh presenting Kumar’s plea, stating that eight votes were declared invalid without assigning any reason.
Former Congress MP Pawan Kumar Bansal has labeled the incident as a brazen attempt to subvert democracy, accusing Masih of orchestrating a premeditated scheme to undermine the electoral process.
AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal condemned the BJP, alleging “cheating” in the electoral process and expressing concerns about potential actions in national elections.
The mayoral polls, initially scheduled for January 18 and deferred to February 6, gained significance as the opposition INDIA bloc aimed to challenge the BJP’s eight-year hold on the mayor’s post. As AAP contests for the mayor’s position, the Congress has fielded candidates for senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.
The High Court will take up the matter on Wednesday, and the situation continues to unfold with allegations and counter-allegations in the political landscape of Chandigarh.