The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress jointly filed a petition in the Punjab-Haryana High Court, expressing concerns about the legitimacy of the recent mayoral elections in Chandigarh. The court is scheduled to address the matter on January 31. Lawyer Ferry Sofat, representing AAP and Congress, stated that the petition challenges the election process, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of attempting to manipulate the outcome. The allegations include the BJP’s interference in the democratic process, prompting the filing of a writ petition with supporting evidence.
Following a tumultuous episode surrounding the Chandigarh mayoral elections, AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj accused the BJP of “robbery” and deemed their victory a “blatant theft.” The elections, rescheduled on the Punjab-Haryana High Court’s order, saw BJP’s Manoj Sonkar emerging victorious against AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar. The BJP secured 16 votes, while the joint candidate of Congress and AAP garnered 12 votes, with 8 votes declared invalid.
Post the BJP’s win, chaos erupted in the House, with Congress and AAP councillors alleging foul play and non-compliance with electoral procedures. In response, newly-elected Mayor Manoj Sonkar dismissed the allegations as typical of AAP-Congress behavior, emphasizing that their victory was legitimate. He further accused AAP-Congress leaders of disrupting the process by tearing ballot papers and creating chaos after the announcement of the Mayor’s name.
The mayoral polls were rescheduled due to the illness of the presiding officer on the initial date, January 8. The fresh scheduling, described by AAP MP Raghav Chadha as the first direct electoral contest between the BJP and the Opposition bloc (INDIA), resulted from the Punjab-Haryana High Court’s directive on January 24. The court not only set the new election date but also assigned security responsibilities to the Chandigarh Police.
Advocate General Punjab, Gurminder Singh, confirmed the court’s decision to hold the Chandigarh mayoral elections on January 30, entrusting the Chandigarh Police with security duties. Allegations of intentional delays by the BJP, sensing defeat, arose after the initial postponement of the polls. The collaboration between Congress and AAP in this electoral contest marked a significant development in the Opposition bloc—INDIA, with each party endorsing candidates for specific positions within the municipal leadership.