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SC of India overturns Chandigarh mayoral poll result, says would not allow “democracy to be murdered”

ANM Bureau

NEW DELHI: In a major setback to the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party the Supreme Court of India on Tuesday overturned the result of the union territory Chandigarh mayoral poll. In mayoral elections held on January 30, BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar, emerged as an unlikely winner defeating Congress-Aam Admi Party (AAP) alliance candidate Kuldeep Kumar. With the apex court overturning the poll results Kuldeep Kumar was declared as the new city mayor.

The January 30 election had been marred by allegations of misconduct by BJP councillors and presiding authority. BJP mayor, Manoj Sonkar, resigned on Sunday after the case reached the Supreme Court and it made adverse observations.

After finding serious faults in the conduct of the January 30 election the court also ordered prosecution of the returning officer for the poll, Anil Masih, a BJP leader, for his “misdemeanour”,

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud however made it clear that it was not quashing the entire electoral exercise and restricting itself to dealing with the wrong-doings in the counting process which led to invalidation of eight votes cast in Kumar’s favour.

The supreme Court bench observed it was evident that there was a deliberate attempt to deface eight ballot papers which led to the change in results.

The BJP had won the mayoral poll defeating the comfortably placed AAP-Congress alliance candidate after the returning officer declared as invalid eight votes of the coalition partners, drawing accusations of tampering with ballots.

The Chandigarh Mayoral Election held significance as it marked the first-ever alliance between Congress and AAP. The combine aimed to challenge the BJP, setting the stage for potential alliances in other states during the upcoming general elections.

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