Chandigarh mayoral election: Oppn parties accuse BJP of undermining democracy, vow to fight back | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh mayoral election: Oppn parties accuse BJP of undermining democracy, vow to fight back

PTI |
Jan 30, 2024 09:12 PM IST

Chandigarh mayoral election: Oppn parties accuse BJP of undermining democracy, vow to fight back

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Leaders of several opposition parties on Tuesday accused the BJP of "rigging" the Chandigarh mayoral election and "capturing" the democratic system in the country.

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"It is a black day for democracy. Everyone saw how they stole votes," AAP supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said after the BJP candidate won the mayoral election defeating the INDIA bloc joint candidate.

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Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party and other INDIA bloc parties also called for unitedly taking on the BJP, which they alleged was "killing" democracy and "disregarding Constitutional propriety".

"The brazen misuse of electoral machinery at the behest of BJP in the Chandigarh Mayoral polls will further erode the confidence of people in free and fair elections.

"As I said yesterday, 2024 is the last chance for us to save Democracy. If we do not come together, to save it from BJP, our future generations shall repent," Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said in a post on X.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, "It is beyond imagination what the BJP, which can kill democracy in front of the entire world in the Mayor elections, will do to remain in power in Delhi."

"Years ago, on this day, Godse had assassinated Gandhiji and today Godse-vadis sacrificed his ideals and constitutional values," Gandhi said.

The BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls retaining the three top posts in a setback to the AAP and the Congress which had contested the elections as allies.

Opposition councillors alleged there was tampering with the ballot papers after eight votes were declared invalid, a charge rubbished by the BJP.

The Aam Aadmi Party, however, moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, urging it to set aside the poll results and demanding fresh elections under the supervision of a retired HC judge.

Other parties also urged the apex court to intervene.

Not only the Election Commission, but the Supreme Court, as the guardian of the Constitution, should immediately take cognisance of the same and annul the election, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said.

After being forced to conduct the polls by the High Court's intervention, the BJP resorted to "hijacking" the polls as it feared defeat at the hands of the INDIA alliance, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said.

"We will take the fight against BJP's 'Anyay' to the courts and the people. We will fight for NYAY for Chandigarh," the Rajya Sabha Congress MP said.

"The foul play by the BJP in today's Chandigarh Mayoral Election is yet another example of their arrogance, their absolute disregard for Constitutional propriety, and their disdain for democratic processes," he alleged.

Kejriwal said if Chandigarh mayor elections were conducted honestly, the INDIA bloc would have registered its first win today.

He expressed "serious concern" over the "cheating" in "broad daylight" and alleged the BJP indulged in "hooliganism" during the mayoral polls.

"The issue is not who becomes mayor but the country should not lose and the democracy should not lose ... If people do not stop it together it will be extremely dangerous" for the nation," the AAP chief said.

Congress leader K C Venugopal termed it as a "brazen, shameless capture of the democratic system".

"Declaring opposition votes invalid to win the Mayor Election in Chandigarh shows that it is second nature for the BJP to override the democratic mandate," he said.

"The court should also take action and immediately annul these results, conduct elections under its supervision, declare the results justly and take punitive action against those guilty of this democratic crime.

"The BJP is swallowing democracy. Such brutality of power will prove to be very fatal for the country and its people," former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said.

Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said it was a serious blot on democracy.

"The Chandigarh Mayor polls are yet another example of BJPfied idea of India's democratic process ... It is a shame if courts don't intervene to restore procedures and ensure a free and fair election," she said on X.

BJP chief JP Nadda congratulated his party unit in Chandigarh for the victory and said the defeat of the 'INDIA' bloc candidate has shown that neither their arithmetic is working nor their chemistry.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Mod's leadership, the Union territories have witnessed "record development", the BJP chief said.

"That the 'INDI Alliance' fought their first electoral battle and still lost to BJP shows that neither their arithmetic is working nor their chemistry," Nadda said taking a dig at the opposition unity.

Kejriwal claimed the presiding officer appointed by the BJP did not let any agent participate in the counting of the mayoral election's votes.

"Seventy-six years ago, today, Mahatma Gandhi, was killed. Today, they (BJP) have killed democracy. It is a black day for democracy because of the way their dishonesty and hooliganism have been caught on camera. The entire nation is witnessing this on social media," he said.

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann alleged that BJP has "looted the Chandigarh Mayoral elections," while AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha said it was not just an unconstitutional and illegal thing but also a treason.

In the mayoral polls, BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar (16 votes) defeated the AAP's Kuldeep Kumar (12 votes). Eight votes were declared invalid.

The councillors of the INDIA bloc parties - AAP and Congress - protested as soon as the results were announced and boycotted the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.

BJP nominees Kuljit Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma were declared elected to these posts.

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