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Shameless capture of democratic system: Cong on Chandigarh mayoral polls

PTI |
Jan 30, 2024 08:03 PM IST

Shameless capture of democratic system: Cong on Chandigarh mayoral polls

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) The Congress on Tuesday hit out at the BJP alleging "shameless capture" of the democratic system in the country, after the ruling party candidate won the Chandigarh mayoral election defeating the INDIA bloc nominee.

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The Congress also alleged foul play on the part of the BJP in the mayoral elections and said it is another example of their "arrogance and disregard for Constitutional propriety".

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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.

"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," AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said in a post on X.

"First they abruptly postponed the elections, and then devised a way to capture it. This is a warning for all those who are deluded into thinking that the Modi-led BJP will allow democracy to function if they win in 2024," he said.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh 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 said anticipating defeat upon the formalisation of the alliance of INDIA parties in Chandigarh, the BJP first attempted to delay the mayoral elections. After being forced to conduct the polls by the high court’s intervention, the BJP resorted to "hijacking" the polls, he alleged.

"Of the 20 votes that INDIA secured in the Chandigarh Mayoral Elections, 8 have been ruled null and void by the Presiding Officer on various technicalities in a shockingly obfuscating manner. With the INDIA parties now reduced to 12 votes through this charade, the BJP with only 16 votes was declared the winner," Ramesh said in post on X.

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

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera also said, "That the BJP chose January 30 to kill Democracy in Chandigarh does not come as a surprise."

After the BJP won the election, councillors from the two INDIA bloc parties protested in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation House as the result for the mayor’s post was declared, and boycotted the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.

BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar defeated the AAP's Kuldeep Kumar for the mayor’s post, polling 16 votes against the 12 won by his rival. Eight votes were declared invalid.

BJP nominees Kuljit Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma were declared elected to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, respectively.

Opposition councilors alleged there was tampering with the ballot papers in the elections, a charge rubbished by the BJP.

In a social media post, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal expressed “serious concern” over the "cheating" in "broad daylight".

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