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High Court issues notice on AAP’s plea alleging fraud in Chandigarh mayoral poll

IANS | January 31, 2024 03:40 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday sought response from the Chandigarh administration and the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh on a petition alleging fraud in the election for the post of mayor held a day earlier.

However, no interim order was passed staying the results.

A division bench of Justice Sudhir Singh and Justice Harsh Bunger issued notice on Aam Aadmi Party mayoral candidate Kuldeep Kumar’s petition and asked the respondents to file replies within three weeks.

The decision was challenged by AAP and Congress Party’s Joint Candidate Kuldeep Kumar who accused the Presiding Officer of resorting to fraud and forgery in the counting process.

In a major setback to the INDIA bloc’s Congress-AAP alliance on Tuesday, the 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. Eight out of 36 votes were declared invalid by presiding authority Anil Masih, a nominated councilor, with no voting right. The BJP got 16 votes, while the AAP-Congress alliance had 12 votes despite having 20 councillors.

AAP-Congress joint candidate Kumar prayed for fresh election in a free and fair manner under the supervision of a retired High Court judge.

In the petition, he alleged in complete departure of the practice and rules, the presiding officer refused to allow the nominees of parties to monitor the counting of votes.

“The presiding officer in most flimsy manner addressed to the House that he does not want any assistance from the members nominated by the parties contesting the election and he will count the vote himself. The voices were raised by the Aam Admi Party and the Congress but their requests were not heeded, but surprisingly the Deputy Commissioner and the prescribed authority, who was also in the same capacity in the last year’s election, remained mum, ” the petition said.

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