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Chandigarh mayoral poll fraud by BJP, say AAP and Congress

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | January 30, 2024 08:12 PM

CHANDIGARH: The INDIA bloc on Tuesday launched a scathing attack against the BJP after their candidate faced defeat in the Chandigarh mayoral election.

Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress, in a joint press conference, termed the election as unconstitutional, illegal and a fraud by the BJP.

AAP leader Raghav Chadha, Congress leader Pawan Bansal, AAP Chandigarh in-charge Jarnail Singh, AAP leader Prem Garg and Congress Chandigarh president Harmohinder Singh Lucky addressed the press conference to expose the BJP's treason against the Constitution and rejected the election.

Addressing the media, Chadha said the Chandigarh mayoral election was a fraud perpetrated by the BJP. He said what the BJP did was unconstitutional, illegal, anti-national and treason.

Chadha added that everyone knows that the INDIA bloc had 20 votes (13 AAP and seven Congress councillors) and the BJP had 16 (14 councillors, 1 MP and 1 Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) councillor).

So the BJP conspired against democracy to win the election.

Chadha said first the presiding officer fell ill and they postponed the election till February 6, but after “we approached the High Court, a new date of January 30 was decided for election.”

After cancelling the election on January 18, the BJP tried to execute their Operation Lotus and tried to poach our councillors but when they did not succeed in this they appointed Anil Masih, a BJP person who is also their minority wing secretary, as the new presiding officer for this election.

Chadha said at the time of counting no election agents of their parties were allowed near the counting table, when the rule is that all election agents are present at the time of counting and any vote that is declared invalid is first shown to the election agent and the Deputy Commissioner and only with their consent can it be declared invalid.

But no rules were followed in counting and declaring the votes as invalid.

Chadha said eight out of the 20 votes of the INDIA alliance were declared invalid which is unprecedented in the history of Chandigarh mayoral elections, while not even one vote of the BJP was declared invalid.

He alleged that the presiding officer himself tampered with the ballot papers to make votes of the INDIA alliance councillors invalid.

Congress leader Bansal said this is the ‘jungle raj’ of the BJP that “we are fighting against”. He said “we (INDIA alliance) came together to save our democracy. In Chandigarh it was the beginning of INDIA vs BJP, but the unnerved BJP took unimaginative actions to win this election when they were clearly losing”.

“First they postponed the election, then they tried to poach our councillors, then they appointed a BJP leader as presiding officer for this election who tampered with the ballot papers of our councillors to invalidate the votes, their imposter presiding officer was doing it all by himself when he is there just to oversee the election process, ” the former Union minister said.

Bansal claimed that even the media was not allowed inside to cover the election. He said this was not an election but a disgusting joke of the BJP so it has now become much more important to defeat them. He said “if the BJP came to power one more time in 2024 they would eradicate the election process and kill our democracy”.

In a major setback to the INDIA bloc's Congress-AAP alliance, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation ruling BJP retained the mayoral seat for the ninth time in a row by winning the post with just four votes.

The AAP-Congress alliance lost the seat despite having the maximum councillors.

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