In the Chandigarh mayoral polls, BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar defeated AAP’s Kuldeep Kumar to become the mayor. The BJP won with 16 votes, while Congress and AAP’s candidate received 12 votes. The AAP contested for the mayor’s post, while the Congress fielded candidates for senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor. Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, as an ex-officio member, was the first to cast her vote. The BJP’s Kuljeet Sandhu will compete against the Congress’ Gurpreet Singh Gabi for the position of senior deputy mayor.
BJP won the Chandigarh mayoral elections with 16 votes while Congress and AAP mayor candidate Kuldeep Singh got 12 votes. Eight votes were declared invalid.
As part of the alliance, the AAP is contested for the mayor’s post while the Congress has fielded candidates for senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.
The BJP has fielded Manoj Sonkar while the AAP has nominated Kumar for the post of mayor. For the post of senior deputy mayor, the BJP’s Kuljeet Sandhu will go up against the Congress’ Gurpreet Singh Gabi.
Presiding Officer Anil Masih, who occupied his chair around 10:40 am, started the poll process for the post of mayor. Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, who has voting rights as an ex-officio member of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, was the first to cast the vote.
Kejriwal claims cheating:
After the results were announjced, councillors of INDIA bloc parties AAP and Congress protested over claims of ‘cheating’. From Delhi, AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP of “cheating”.
In a post on X, Delhi CM said “The manner in which dishonesty has been done in broad daylight in the Chandigarh Mayor elections is extremely worrying. If these people can stoop so low in a mayor’s election, then they can go to any extent in the country’s elections. This is very worrying.”
Setbacks for INDIA bloc:
The Chandigarh mayor polls were essential for the INDIA bloc as Congress and AAP joined hands to contest the elections against the BJP, which has held the mayor’s post for the past eight years.
However, the INDIA bloc lost the mayor polls in the Union Territory. The blow came soon after Nitish Kumar jolted the mega anti-Modi alliance by breaking Mahagathbandhan in Bihar.
Nitish Kumar on Sunday was sworn-in as the new chief minister of Bihar with BJP support. The move came hours after Kumar submitted his resignation.
While explaining his reason for submitting resignation, Nitish Kumar said, “Today, I have resigned as the Chief Minister and I have also told the Governor to dissolve the government in the state. This situation came because not everything was alright…I was getting views from everyone. I listened to all of them. Today, the government has been dissolved.”
With Kumar’s exit, INDIA bloc is staring at the loss of a key architect of the opposition alliance who had persuaded regional parties from across the country to join hands to fight the BJP.
Punjab and Haryana High Court directions:
The polls were held following the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In its January 24 order, the high court directed the Chandigarh administration to hold the mayoral polls on January 30. It also quashed the administration’s January 18 order postponing the elections while holding it “unreasonable, unjustified and arbitrary”.
The high court had also directed that the councillors who come to cast their votes shall not be accompanied by any supporters or security personnel belonging to any other state.
Elections to the three posts are held every year during the House’s five-year term. The Congress had abstained from voting in 2022 and 2023, leading to the BJP’s victory in the polls. The election of the mayor is done through secret ballots.
(with agency inputs)