Chandigarh Mayor Resigns Ahead of SC Hearing, 3 AAP Councillors Join BJP

Chandigarh: BJP leader Manoj Sonkar resigned from the post of Chandigarh mayor late Sunday night ahead of the Supreme Court hearing in the alleged tampering in the mayoral election on Monday.

On January 30 in the alleged tampered election, BJP’s Manoj Sonkar received 16 votes and Kuldeep Singh, the joint candidate of the Congress and AAP got 12 votes. Eight votes were declared invalid.

But the AAP also received a shock and three of its councillors – Poonam Devi, Neha and Gurcharan Kala – joined the BJP on Sunday. The BJP had 14 councillors in the 35-member Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and now its tally has reached 17. The support of one Shiromani Akali Dal councillor and BJP’s Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher also has voting rights as an ex-officio member which brings BJP to the magic number of 19.

In comparison, the AAP now has 10 councillors while its ally Congress has seven.

On January 30, chaos broke out as Congress and AAP councillors accused the BJP of cheating and not following the due electoral process. They also alleged that presiding officer Anil Masih was caught “tampering” with ballot papers in a video that they later submitted to the Supreme Court.

Appalled by the alleged defacing of ballot papers, the Supreme Court had said it amounted to a mockery of democracy and ordered that the ballots and the video of the electoral proceedings be preserved.

“Is this the behaviour of a returning officer? He looks at the camera, and defaces the ballot obviously,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said after viewing a video of the counting.

The court had asked Masih, the designated council member, must appear before it on February 19.

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