The Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) Manoj Sonkar won the Chandigarh mayoral elections today, defeating the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Kuldeep Kumar. The BJP was pitted against an alliance between the Congress and AAP, in the first contest between the newly formed Opposition coalition and the NDA, following Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s sensational switchover to the latter.
Mr Sonkar secured 16 votes while Mr Kumar garnered 12 votes. The outcome was not without its share of drama, as eight votes were declared invalid, triggering protests from AAP and Congress councillors. The BJP, with 14 councillors, managed to outpace AAP, which had 13 councillors, and the Congress with seven.
As the results were announced, AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP of “cheating” and voiced his dissatisfaction with the electoral process.
“If these people can stoop to this level in a mayoral poll, they can go to any extent in the national elections,” Mr Kejriwal posted on X. “This is very worrying.”
चंडीगढ़ मेयर चुनाव में दिन दहाड़े जिस तरह से बेईमानी की गई है, वो बेहद चिंताजनक है। यदि एक मेयर चुनाव में ये लोग इतना गिर सकते हैं तो देश के चुनाव में तो ये किसी भी हद तक जा सकते हैं। ये बेहद चिंताजनक है।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 30, 2024
The AAP-Congress alliance strategically nominated candidates for various positions. Mr Kumar, representing the AAP, contested for the mayoral post, while the Congress fielded candidates for senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.
The senior deputy mayor post saw Kuljeet Sandhu of the BJP facing off against Congress’s Gurpreet Singh Gabi, while the deputy mayor position was contested between BJP’s Rajinder Sharma and Congress’s Nirmala Devi.
The results of these contests are awaited.