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BJP sweeps Chandigarh Municipal Corporation mayoral polls; AAP calls results "murder of democracy"

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Chandigarh, Jan 8: The BJP on Saturday swept the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation mayoral polls and its municipal councillor Sarabjit Kaur became the new mayor. The saffron party also bagged the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor of the Chandigarh MC.

BJP sweeps Chandigarh Municipal Corporation mayoral polls, Sarabjit Kaur is new mayor

The mayor's post was reserved for a woman candidate this year. However, the AAP called the poll results a "murder of democracy". BJP's Sarabjit Kaur defeated Aam Aadmi Party's Anju Katyal by one vote in a direct contest. Out of the total 36 votes, 28 were polled, while seven Congress councillors and the lone Shiromani Akali Dal councillor abstained.

Kaur bagged 14 votes and Katyal got 13, officials said, adding that one was declared invalid. The Aam Aadmi Party was contesting the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls for the first time. After the result was declared, AAP councillors created a ruckus in the House, with some of them reaching near the mayor's chair and holding a protest. Crying foul play, they tried to stop the new mayor from addressing the House.

First, marshals were called in and later police were called to remove the protesting councillors who were standing near the mayor's chair. BJP's Dalip Sharma became the senior deputy mayor after he trounced AAP's Prem Lata by a margin of two votes. Sharma polled 15 and Lata got 13 votes, indicating that one AAP councillor cross voted.

BJP's Arun Gupta won the post of deputy mayor as he defeated AAP's Ram Chander Yadav. There was a tie as both the candidates got 14 votes each. Then after a draw of lots, BJP's Gupta was declared deputy mayor. BJP councillor Mahesh Inder Singh Sidhu was the presiding officer and Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh chaired the election process. The results of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation polls which were declared on December 27, threw up a hung House, with the AAP winning 14 of the 35 wards and the BJP 12.

The Congress had bagged eight seats and the Shiromani Akali Dal got one. Days after the polls results were declared, municipal councillor from the Congress Harpreet Kaur Babla joined the BJP. Besides 35 councillors, the Chandigarh MP, who is an ex-officio member in the municipal corporation, also has a voting right. Later, Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab and Chandigarh affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh accused the BJP of "murdering democracy" in the mayoral election of Chandigarh.

He said that in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections, the residents of the city had voted the Aam Aadmi Party to the most number of seats at 14. AAP's victory in the mayor's election was certain, but the BJP deliberately got an AAP vote "cancelled" by insulting the 'fatwa' of the public and declared its mayor forcibly, he alleged. Singh said the elections for the mayor of Chandigarh clearly showed that there was "a clandestine understanding between the BJP and the Congress" to defeat the AAP in the mayoral elections.

Somehow BJP's vote figure reached 14, equalling AAP, by including the vote of a member of Parliament, but the party flouted all rules and regulations, and got its candidate appointed as the mayor, he alleged. Singh also accused officials of Chandigarh of helping the BJP and said that in order to maintain fairness of the election, votes should be re-counted and the mayor should be re-elected, failing which the AAP will resort to a legal action. PTI

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