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Business News/ News / India/  ‘Thank you for saving democracy’: Arvind Kejriwal on SC's Chandigarh mayoral poll ruling
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‘Thank you for saving democracy’: Arvind Kejriwal on SC's Chandigarh mayoral poll ruling

Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling on Chandigarh mayoral polls, Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal thanked the apex court and said the judgement has saved democracy in these difficult times.

Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Hindustan Times)Premium
Aam Aadmi Party national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Hindustan Times)

Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling on Chandigarh mayoral polls, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday thanked the apex court and said the judgement has saved democracy in these difficult times.

The Delhi Chief Minister said that “the situation in the country is such that a dictatorship is going on. Democracy is being trampled. All institutions are being trampled. At such a time, this decision of the Supreme Court holds a lot of significance for democracy."

“We have snatched away victory from them. They had 'stolen' the election, the votes. But we fought till the end and ultimately won...Those who say that BJP can't be defeated - BJP can be defeated with unity, with good planning and strategy and hard work. These results prove the same…," Kejriwal added.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court—during the hearing on a petition regarding allegations of vote tampering in the Chandigarh mayoral polls— observed that the eight 'defaced' votes should be considered valid, and a recounting should be conducted.

A bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra has commenced hearing the plea of defeated AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar, accusing Returning Officer Anil Masih of electoral malpractices.

The Supreme Court has scrutinised the ballot papers and watched the video recordings which were brought before it by a judicial officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Registrar General.

It is important to note that Manoj Sonkar—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate—was declared victorious in the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30 after the Returning Officer (RO) declared eight votes of the comfortably placed AAP-Congress alliance candidate invalid, drawing accusations of vote tampering.

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP defeated Kuldeep Kumar of the AAP-Congress alliance with 16 votes against his rival's 12, but he later resigned. Additionally, three AAP councillors switched allegiance to the BJP.

The Supreme Court also came down heavily on Returning Officer Anil Masih, who had conducted the Chandigarh Mayor election, asking him to prove where the ballots, that he rejected as “invalid", have been defaced.

The apex court noted that the RO puts a single line on all eight ballots that went in favour of AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar. “What he [returning officer] does is, he puts a single line. Just one line, as seen in the video."

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Anil Masih, argued that marks that the returning officer made, were “small dots" and he looked at the cameras as “there was commotion outside".

He further added that Anil Masih, being the returning officer, was entitled to sign.

“There is a small dot if it is seen clearly…what he has done is...in one of them there is a small dot…some are folded from the top. He has, by virtue of that line tick, identified for disqualification. He may be right or wrong. That is his assessment. He looked at the video because there was commotion outside. No one can do this with cameras present. There is no guilty man looking at the camera," Mukul Rohatgi said.

 

 

 

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Published: 20 Feb 2024, 04:00 PM IST
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