Chandigarh Mayor Manoj Sonkar resigns ahead of Supreme Court hearing

Last month, BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar won the post of Mayor by securing 16 votes in the 35-member MC House, while Congress and AAP members alleged poll rigging

Published - February 19, 2024 12:01 am IST - CHANDIGARH:

 BJP’s Manoj Sonkar (with saffron shawl) is greeted by party councillors after being elected Chandigarh Mayor. File photo

BJP’s Manoj Sonkar (with saffron shawl) is greeted by party councillors after being elected Chandigarh Mayor. File photo | Photo Credit: PTI

Ahead of the hearing on Chandigarh mayoral election in the Supreme Court likely on Monday, city’s Mayor Manoj Sonkar resigned from his post on Sunday.

Last month, BJP candidate Mr. Sonkar won the post of Mayor by securing 16 votes in the 35-member MC House. Eight votes were declared invalid. The Congress and the AAP members created a ruckus in the House alleging poll rigging. The Congress and the AAP, both INDIA bloc partners, had decided to jointly contest the mayoral elections against the BJP. As per the alliance, the Congress contested the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor while the AAP fought for the Mayor post.

Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Kumar, after losing the Mayor poll, approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking to set aside the process of the election of the Mayor, alleging complete fraud and forgery in the process of elections. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had refused to grant the AAP any interim relief, following which Mr. Kumar approached the Supreme Court.

On February 5, the Supreme Court gave the BJP win in Chandigarh mayoral polls a jolt, threatening to order fresh elections after a video played in the open courtroom showed Returning Officer Anil Masih “obviously defacing” ballot papers.

The next hearing on the matter is likely to come up on February 19.

In the Chandigarh MC, there are 35 councillors while the Member of Parliament from Chandigarh (of the BJP) is an ex-officio member of the municipal corporation, and also has a voting right. The BJP has 14 councillors. The AAP has 13 councillors while the Congress has seven councillors. The Shiromani Akali Dal has one member in the House.

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