“Invalid” Votes In Chandigarh Mayor Polls, Drama Around Counting

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Video: 'Invalid' Votes In Chandigarh Mayor Polls, Drama Around Counting

The unruly scenes as they unfolded after Chandigarh Mayor polls results were announced

Moments after the Chandigarh Mayoral poll results were announced, the BJP candidate was swiftly rushed in, led by his arm, to take the official chair, with others around him flashing the victory sign and smiles as the new Mayor accepted the greetings with folded hands.

The moment was marred by unruly scenes and accusation of fraud by AAP and the Congress who had contested the elections as allies.

BJP’s Manoj Sonkar won the polls after winning 16 of a possible 36 votes. AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar was second with 12. Eight votes were deemed “invalid” and are at the heart of a scorching row, with the AAP accusing presiding officer Anil Masih of deliberately invalidating those ballots.

As the BJP candidate was basking in the poll glory, the presiding officer leaned across the table to collect his papers neatly lined up in trays,  which the opposition claims was the list of invalid votes.

Soon, there was a scramble for the them and the presiding officer was seen moving across the stage to get hold of the sheets. The papers were retrieved and handed back to the officer, who then moved away from the scene.

Cut to stage, the celebratory slogans, smiles and the victory signs were back with the Mayor seated right in the middle.

Addressing reporters after the results, AAP MP Raghav Chadha claimed that all eight votes declared “invalid” by Mr Masih had been for his party’s candidate. Had those votes counted, the AAP would have won.

“The presiding officer announced rejection of eight votes, declared the BJP candidate the winner and went away. BJP members rushed to the table and tore off the ballot papers,” alleged Congress’ Pawan Bansal, adding that the Congress-AAP agent was not allowed to examine the ballot papers.

Congress councillor Gurbax Rawat alleged that the presiding officer did not call the party’s election agent when the ballot box was opened for counting. “We do not accept the result,” he said.

The BJP has rubbished the opposition allegations and said if the councilors have any objections, they can challenge the result.

The BJP has 14 councillors in the 35-member corporation. The AAP 13 and the Congress seven.

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