Chandigarh mayor polls: Officer says a ballot alteration was requested but denies tampering

Kuldeep Singh, the combined candidate of the Congress and AAP, managed to receive 12 votes, while the BJP's nominee for mayor, Manoj Sonkar, received 16 votes. Eight votes were ruled to be void.

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Courtesy: ANI

Controversy surrounded Tuesday's Chandigarh mayoral election as opposition parties charged the BJP of manipulating the results. Following accusations of ballot tampering, Presiding Officer Anil Masih, who was in the focus of the protest, justified his actions during the vote count by asserting that members of the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had asked for the replacement of 11 votes because of scratches and spots.

The opposition councilors alleged that the Presiding Officer, Anil Masih, had tampered with the ballots to favor a particular candidate.

However, the presiding officer Anil Masih has denied any wrongdoing and claims he simply replaced the 11 ballots at the request of the councilors themselves.

He stated that the original ballots had ‘marks and spots’ that could potentially identify the voters, which is a violation of election rules. He replaced the ballots with fresh ones to maintain the secrecy of the vote.

It should be mentioned that Kuldeep Singh, the combined candidate of the Congress and AAP, managed to receive 12 votes, while the BJP's nominee for mayor, Manoj Sonkar, received 16 votes. Eight votes were ruled to be void.

There was a disturbance in the House following Manoj's victory in the Chandigarh mayor's race for the BJP. Councilors for the Congress and AAP charged the BJP with electoral malpractice and not conducting the proper elections.

On January 24, 2024, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared that the Chandigarh Mayoral Elections would take place on January 30 and gave the Chandigarh Police full control over security.