In a closely contested election, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Manoj Sonkar has emerged victorious as the new Mayor of Chandigarh, defeating Congress-AAP candidate Kuldeep Tita. The results, announced earlier today, reveal Sonkar securing 16 out of 35 votes, while Tita managed to garner only 12. Notably, eight votes were deemed invalid, adding to the contentious nature of the election.
The announcement of Sonkar’s win was met with both celebration and protest as tensions flared within the Municipal Corporation Building in Chandigarh. Protests erupted against the presiding authority, Anil Masih, prompting the intervention of marshals to restore order to the chamber.
Alongside Sonkar’s victory, BJP’s Rajinder Kumar clinched the position of Deputy Mayor. The voting process unfolded amidst high drama, with the Municipal Corporation Building witnessing unprecedented scenes.
#WATCH | BJP wins Chandigarh mayoral elections with 16 votes to its mayor candidate Manoj Sonkar. The Congress & AAP mayor candidate Kuldeep Singh got 12 votes. 8 votes were declared invalid. pic.twitter.com/vjQYcObylT
— ANI (@ANI) January 30, 2024
This election marked a significant shift in Chandigarh’s political landscape, as it saw the opposition’s I.N.D.I. Alliance members, comprising AAP and Congress, uniting to challenge BJP’s dominance. However, despite their combined efforts, Sonkar’s win underscores the resilience of the BJP in the region.
The presence of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Deputy Commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh added gravity to the proceedings, which commenced nearly an hour later than scheduled due to delays attributed to the late arrival of the deputy commissioner and BJP councillors. Notably, BJP MP Kirron Kher, an ex-officio member of the house, cast the first vote in the election.
The voting process, lasting an hour, was marred by controversy as eight votes were disqualified, ultimately impacting the outcome of the election. Reportedly, this decision was met with dissatisfaction among opposition members.
In an unprecedented move, reporters were barred from the press gallery, with access restricted to a live feed displayed in the conference room, raising questions about transparency in the electoral process.
Originally slated for January 18, the election was postponed to February 6, due to Masih’s illness. However, opposition councillors from AAP and Congress contested the rescheduled date, leading to a legal battle that culminated in the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s directive to hold the elections on January 30th.
The aftermath of this contentious election is likely to reverberate across Chandigarh’s political landscape, with implications for future alliances and electoral strategies.