oppn parties Chandigarh Mayoral Elections: Wrongdoing Admitted In Court, What Next?

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Chandigarh Mayoral Elections: Wrongdoing Admitted In Court, What Next?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2024-02-19 14:18:45

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator.

The controversial returning officer for the disputed Chandigarh mayoral polls, Anil Masih, admitted in the Supreme Court that he had tampered with the ballot papers. That clearly means that the votes of the eight councillors were not invalid and the result Masih announced was cooked-up by him.  The court took a stern view of the admission and ordered prosecution of Masih for 'interfering with the election process'. However, the court did not order a re-election. Instead, it asked that the ballot papers be produced before it on Tuesday morning when it will continue to hear the case.

But the court made a pertinent observation which gives an indication about what is going through its mind. Perhaps taking cognizance of newspaper reports which said that the BJP had claimed three of AAP councillors had joined its party, the court said that 'horse-trading' is taking place. It may, therefore, order counting of votes afresh after ignoring the tampering by Masih. In that case, the joint AAP-Congress candidate is likely to be declared the winner. But in case the court orders a re-election, then the BJP, on the strength on the addition of three defectors, will sail through.

The BJP is obviously pressing for re-election on the plea that some ballot papers are torn. But the court did not take that into consideration and will verify facts by examining the papers on Tuesday. The BJP is in a bind. If the AAP-Congress candidate is now declared the winner, as per rules it cannot bring a no-trust motion against the mayor and his team for the next six months. It is also possible that if the AAP-Congress candidate is appointed mayor by a Supreme Court order after a fresh counting of votes, the three AAP councillors will go back to their parent party, leaving the BJP high and dry. But if they remain in the BJP, the AAP-Congress mayor and his team will not have the majority to push through their agenda. The Supreme Court will have to take a tough decision by considering all possibilities.