Chandigarh Mayor Polls case: BJP’s Manoj Sonkar resigns ahead of Supreme Court hearing

Chandigarh Mayor Manoj Sonkar resigns ahead of Supreme Court hearing amid allegations of poll rigging. Opposition protests followed BJP's victory in mayoral polls.

Livemint
First Published18 Feb 2024
Police use water cannons to disperse NSUI workers protesting against the BJP over the mayoral election fiasco in Chandigarh
Police use water cannons to disperse NSUI workers protesting against the BJP over the mayoral election fiasco in Chandigarh(Photo: Ravi Kumar/HT)

Newly elected Chandigarh Mayor Manoj Sonkar has resigned ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on Monday. The development came amid growing calls for his dismissal and numerous Opposition-led protests. The Congress-AAP alliance had levelled allegations of poll rigging after the BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30. Sonkar had defeated AAP leader Kuldeep Kumar after polling 16 votes. His rival secured 12 votes while another eight were declared invalid.

The case reached the Supreme Court in early February with issued being issued to the Chandigarh authorities — including the civic body. The apex court had asserted that the incident amounted to a mockery of democracy and ordered the preservation of the ballots and the video of the electoral proceedings. A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra had expressed annoyance after watching the video of the electoral proceedings. 

"It is obvious that he has defaced the ballot papers, he needs to be prosecuted. Why is he looking at the camera. Mr Solicitor, this is a mockery of democracy and murdering democracy. We are appalled. Is this behaviour of a returning officer. Wherever there is cross at bottom, he does not touch it and when it is at the top he alters it, please tell returning officer that Supreme Court is watching him," Bar and Bench quoted Chief Justice DY Chandrachud as saying.

ALSO READ: Chandigarh Mayor Polls case: SC to hear explanation of Returning officer Anil Masih on February 19

Presiding officer Anil Masih had been asked to appear before the apex court on February 19 to present his defense. An AAP councillor challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that refused to grant any interim relief to the party seeking fresh mayoral polls in Chandigarh.

(With inputs from agencies)

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