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SC probes ‘murder’ of fair polls after horse-trading claims

Updated on: 20 February,2024 05:54 AM IST  |  New Delhi
Agencies |

Top court orders close scrutiny of ballot papers, video recordings following tampering allegations

SC probes ‘murder’ of fair polls after horse-trading claims

Anil Masih was caught on camera marking the votes. Pic/X

Observing that “horse-trading is taking place”, the Supreme Court has said it would peruse on Tuesday the ballot papers of the Chandigarh mayoral polls and the entire video-recording of the counting day, and directed the registrar general of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to depute a judicial officer to bring the records safely to Delhi.

The top court, on February 5, rapped Returning Officer Anil Masih, who conducted the mayoral polls, observing that it was obvious that he had defaced the ballot papers and that he should be prosecuted, adding that his action amounted to “murder” and a “mockery” of democracy.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud directed the Chandigarh administration on Monday to provide security to the judicial officer, to be appointed by the high court, to ensure the safety of the officer and the records. “We ourselves will look at the records at 2 pm,” the bench, also comprising justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, said.

“Horse-trading taking place,” the CJI said while declining a plea that the case on the mayoral polls be heard on some other day instead of Tuesday. Masih appeared before the bench in pursuance of the apex court’s direction and was quizzed over the alleged tampering of certain ballot papers.

Mayor’s resignation shows BJP won by using ‘unfair means’: Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that BJP leader Manoj Sonkar’s resignation as Chandigarh mayor shows that they won the elections by using “unfair means”. Addressing the media outside the Delhi Assembly, Kejriwal said, “If the mayor has resigned then it is very obvious that something is suspicious there. It clearly shows that they won the elections by unfair means.”

“This is how they win other elections too; if they don’t, they buy leaders from the winning party. How will a democratic country function if elections are won unfairly? They (BJP) should let the party that won the elections run the government,” Kejriwal alleged. Sonkar resigned as Chandigarh mayor and three AAP councillors -- Neha, Poonam and Gurcharan Kala -- joined the BJP on Sunday.  

AAP hits out at BJP as councillors switch sides

A day after three of its municipal councillors switched over to the BJP, the Aam Aadmi Party on Monday hit out at the party accusing it of threatening them and using unfair tactics to poach them.

Aam Aadmi Party councillors from Chandigarh, Poonam Devi, Neha and Gurcharan Kala, join BJP. Pic/PTI
Aam Aadmi Party councillors from Chandigarh, Poonam Devi, Neha and Gurcharan Kala, join BJP. Pic/PTI

The Congress, which contested the recent mayoral polls jointly with the AAP, also targeted the BJP, alleging that the entire election episode had exposed it before the public. Three AAP councillors - Neha, Poonam and Gurcharan Kala - joined the BJP in the presence of senior party leader Vinod Tawde on Sunday.

The development came hours after BJP leader Manoj Sonkar resigned as Chandigarh mayor on Sunday, a day before the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear a plea alleging irregularities in the mayoral polls.

No of AAP councillors who joined BJP

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