'Snatched victory from BJP': Kejriwal thanks SC for Chandigarh verdict | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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'Snatched victory from BJP': Arvind Kejriwal thanks SC for Chandigarh verdict

Feb 20, 2024 05:40 PM IST

The Supreme Court declared Aam Aadmi Party's candidate Kuldeep Kumar as the winner of Chandigarh mayoral polls.

The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court order on Chandigarh mayor elections, which declared the party's candidate Kuldeep Kumar as the winner.

Delhi CM and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal (File photo)
Delhi CM and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal (File photo)

"Thank you SC for saving democracy in these difficult times! #ChandigarhMayorPolls," Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal posted on X after the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud had ordered the recount of eight ballots declared as ‘invalid’ by returning officer Anil Masih.

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Kejriwal also held a press conference on the SC ruling in AAP's favour on Tuesday.

“ We thank the Supreme Court...dictatorship is going on in the country...democracy is being trampled upon, all institutions are being trampled upon. In such times, this ruling by the SC is very important for democracy and to save democracy. It's a very important decision,” said Kejriwal.

“This is big victory for INDIA bloc...first victory and a big one...it's significant, we have snatched this victory from them (BJP). They had stolen the election, the votes but we didn't accept defeat. We fought till the end and finally we won,” he added.

"Those who say BJP can't be defeated... BJP can be defeated with unity, good planning and strategy and diligence. This election result (Chandigarh mayor polls) has proved that.It's a victory for the people of Chandigarh. It's a victory for the whole country. Entire nation saw how the BJP stole this election," he added further.

After the top court's verdict, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Swati Maliwal posted on X,"This country is still run by democracy.. This is a big slap on the cheeks of vote thieves. Big victory for AAP! Thank you Hon'ble SC".

Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj took a jibe at BJP-led Centre. “The biggest political party of the world, BJP was seen doing malpractices - on camera - in a mayoral election. This is a matter of concern for the country. What would the party be doing where there is no camera and no microphone?”

"How can you trust the Central Government at all those places? Supreme Court has exposed the Central Government in this matter...Central Government's topmost advocate represented the Presiding Officer before the Supreme Court...," Bharadwaj added.

ALSO READ| After SC's verdict, what next for Chandigarh poll official Anil Masih?

Congress reacts

Congress which fought the Chandigarh mayor polls in an alliance with AAP has called the SC ruling “historic”.

"What happened in Supreme Court is totally historic in the history of Chandigarh. Never before has this happened...Everybody knows what happened in the mayoral election...Today, justice has prevailed...," said Chandigarh Congress chief Harmohinder Singh Lucky

ALSO READ| ‘BJP can be defeated if INDIA is united’: New Chandigarh mayor after SC declares him winner

Supreme Court sets aside Jan 30 mayor polls

The Supreme Court overturned the result of Chandigarh mayor poll that had declared BJP's Manoj Sonkar as the winner, sparking controversy.

The apex court 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 court directed that the eight votes be treated as valid and are in favour of Kumar. As a result, the AAP councillor was declared as winner with 20 votes.

The court also ordered prosecution of the returning officer for the poll, Anil Masih, a BJP leader, for his "misdemeanour", after finding serious faults in the conduct of the January 30 election.

The bench said it was evident that Masih made deliberate attempts to deface eight ballot papers.

What happened in the Chandigarh mayoral polls

BJP was declared winner of the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30, defeating the AAP-Congress alliance candidate. The returning officer declared as invalid eight votes of the coalition partners, drawing accusations of tampering with ballots.

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP defeated AAP's Kuldeep Kumar after polling 16 votes against his rival's 12 to win the mayor's post. Later, Sonkar resigned from the mayor's post.

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