BJP 'rattled', says CM Mann; welcomes SC observations on Chandigarh mayoral polls

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Mohali, Feb 6 (PTI) The BJP is "rattled" by the Chandigarh mayoral polls ballot paper "tampering" issue as it has been captured on video, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann alleged on Tuesday and said a thief is always caught.

The BJP swept the January 30 mayoral elections. It won the posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor by defeating Congress-AAP alliance.

The chief minister also welcomed the Supreme Court's observations on the alleged rigging in the polls, saying truth will triumph.

His reaction came a day after the top court expressed annoyance after watching a video of the electoral proceedings during the mayoral polls.

"Look what they have done in Chandigarh," Mann, a senior AAP leader, said while referring to the alleged rigging in the mayoral polls.

"Some wise man had said '100 din chor de, ek din saadh da' (100 days of a thief, one day of a saint). Now, the day of the saint has come," the chief minister said.

The BJP is rattled, and "amid all this, including the governor, do not know whose sacrifice they will take. They are rattled by what has happened", he said while addressing an event here.

"What the Supreme Court said? The court wondered is this democracy, you are making a mockery of the votes of people," Mann claimed. Everything will come out, he said.

Earlier, while replying to a question by reporters on the Supreme Court's observations, Mann said," For saving the country's democracy, we had to move the Supreme Court." "We expect that there will be a victory of truth," he asserted.

Referring to ballot paper counting issue, Mann said if the video of the poll proceedings is shown to a common man, he will ask how votes are counted.

Appalled by the alleged defacing of ballot papers during the Chandigarh mayoral polls, the Supreme Court on Monday said it was a mockery of democracy and ordered that the ballots and the video of the electoral proceedings be preserved.

Taking note of a plea of an AAP councillor alleging wrongdoing during the polls, the court issued notices to the Chandigarh authorities, including the civic body.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra expressed annoyance after watching the video of the electoral proceedings and said that, prima facie, the returning officer was defacing the ballot papers.

The AAP on Monday while reacting to the Supreme Court's observations had said that it was a "tight slap" on the face of the BJP.

In the mayoral polls, Manoj Sonkar of the BJP had defeated the AAP's Kuldeep Kumar for the mayor's post, polling 16 votes against his rival's 12. Eight votes were declared invalid.

The opposition councillors alleged that the presiding officer had tampered with the ballot papers, a charge rubbished by the BJP.

The AAP moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and sought fresh elections under the supervision of a retired judge but the court refused to grant any interim relief. PTI CHS VSD ANB ANB