Victory of democracy, says AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar after Supreme Court declares him Chandigarh mayor : The Tribune India

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Victory of democracy, says AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar after Supreme Court declares him Chandigarh mayor

Celebrations break out at the AAP office after the Supreme Court declares AAP councillor as winner and mayor of Chandigarh

Victory of democracy, says AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar after Supreme Court declares him Chandigarh mayor

Kuldeep Kumar after the SC verdict in Chandigarh. PTI



PTI

Chandigarh, February 20

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court verdict on the Chandigarh mayoral poll, saying "truth finally wins".

It is a victory of democracy and a victory of Chandigarh residents, said AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar who was declared winner and mayor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Celebrations broke out at the AAP office after the Supreme Court declared AAP councillor as winner and mayor of Chandigarh. AAP members and councillors exchanged sweets.

The top court overturned the result of the Chandigarh mayoral poll in which the BJP candidate had emerged an unlikely winner, and declared defeated AAP-Congress alliance candidate Kuldeep Kumar as the new city mayor.

"Finally truth wins, we welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Chandigarh mayoral elections... CJI declared AAP's Kuldeep Kumar as the mayor while holding eight votes, rejected by the presiding officer, right," said Mann in a post in Punjabi on X.

Mann further said the BJP got a "befitting reply to its blatant wrongdoing".

He also congratulated the people of Chandigarh for the "great victory of democracy".

Setting aside the Chandigarh mayoral poll, the Supreme Court also ordered prosecution of the returning officer for the poll, Anil Masih, a BJP leader, for his "misdemeanour", after finding serious faults in the conduct of the January 30 election.

The apex court made it clear that it was not quashing the entire electoral exercise and restricting itself to dealing with the wrongdoings in the counting process which led to invalidation of eight votes cast in Kumar's favour.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said it was evident that Masih made deliberate attempt to deface eight ballot papers.

Reacting to the apex court verdict, Kumar said he would have become the mayor earlier had the Chandigarh mayoral polls not been rigged.

"It is victory of democracy, victory of Chandigarh residents, victory of truth and victory of INDIA alliance," said an elated Kumar who was the AAP candidate for the mayoral post.

"Today, I have tears of joy," said Kumar who had cried on January 30 when the eight votes were declared invalid.

He said the party fought it till last. To a question, he said the development works in Chandigarh would be carried out in the same manner as it was being done in Punjab and Delhi.

Kumar said he always had complete trust in the court. "I always knew that justice will triumph," he said, thanking the Supreme Court for its verdict.

On Masih who had declared eight votes invalid during Chandigarh mayoral poll on January 30, Kumar said strict action be taken against him as he tried to "murder" democracy.

He said it is not that the BJP cannot be defeated. It can be defeated if opposition parties fight polls by joining hands, he added.

Kumar, who was the joint candidate of the AAP and the Congress for the mayoral poll, had initially moved the Punjab and Haryana High court against the declaration of Chandigarh mayoral result on January 30.

After not getting any interim relief, he moved the Supreme Court for quashing the election of the BJP candidate as the mayor.

AAP councillor Prem Lata thanked the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation commissioner and the joint commissioner for providing the video footage which showed the presiding officer tampering with some ballot papers.

Senior Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal said democracy was saved from being murdered.

"The truth about BJP's machinations in #ChandigarhMayorPolls discovered and unveiled by the Supreme Court. On examining the 'invalid' ballot papers it finds that all those 8 votes had been cast in favour of INDIA block's candidate, Kuldeep Kumar and the Presiding Officer, Anil Masih had himself put lines in order to declare those invalid.

"There was no defacement, which Masih claims as the ground of rejection of those votes. Democracy saved from being murdered. The fight shall go on," Bansal said in a post on X.

AAP Chandigarh unit co-incharge Sunny Ahluwalia said those who were behind the alleged rigging of the Chandigarh mayoral poll will also be exposed.

Chandigarh Pradesh Congress president HS Lucky described the Supreme Court verdict as historic and the "first victory of INDIA alliance".

"We are now going to serve the people of Chandigarh and will work hard to solve people's issues. Truth has prevailed and people's faith in the judicial system has got reinforced with the decision of the apex court," said Lucky. 

#Bhagwant Mann #Democracy #Supreme Court


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