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AAP's Goa unit accuses BJP of 'vote capturing' during Chandigarh mayoral poll

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Panaji, Jan 31 (PTI) The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Goa on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of "vote capturing" during the Chandigarh mayoral election which the saffron outfit won after eight votes were declared invalid.

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BJP candidate Manoj Sonkar defeated AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar for the mayor's post in the Union Territory on Tuesday, polling 16 votes against 12 bagged by the latter. Kumar was the joint Congress-AAP candidate for the post. Eight votes were declared invalid by the presiding officer.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Goa AAP president Amit Palekar said the election for mayoral post would have been easily won by the INDIA alliance given their numbers in the civic corporation of Chandigarh, but it was "rigged" by the presiding officer, whom he described as a "BJP mole".

The AAP leader said despite his party and the Congress having a clear majority of 20 votes against 14 of the BJP and its allies, Sonkar was declared the winner by the presiding officer.

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"He (the presiding officer) declared eight votes of the INDIA alliance as invalid without giving any fair reason and even went away with the ballot papers," Palekar said.

He said this was "modern-day booth capturing" or "vote capturing" by the BJP.

Palekar hit out the saffron outfit, saying it does not believe in democracy and can violate any rule to win elections.

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"They are afraid of the INDIA alliance that is why they stopped using the word India and started referring the country as Bharat. We are also sons of Bharat Mata," he said.

Palekar said if the BJP was sure of its slogan for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, "Iss Baar 400 Paar", it should not have taken back Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in its fold.

After end of their alliance in Bihar in August 2022, the saffron outfit had been insisting that the JD(U) leader would not be taken back in the NDA, Palekar maintained. PTI RPS RSY

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