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'Rigging' in mayoral polls: Chandigarh Youth Cong, AAP hold protest

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Chandigarh, Feb 6 (PTI) The Chandigarh Youth Congress and the AAP Tuesday held separate protests here against alleged rigging in the recently held mayoral polls.

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Led by Chandigarh Youth Congress chief Manoj Lubana, the protesters sought action against presiding officer Anil Masih for allegedly tampering with the ballot papers during the January 30 mayoral elections.

"We are holding a protest today against the murder of democracy which took place on January 30," said Lubana.

"Masih should be arrested forthwith," he demanded.

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Five members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) observed a hunger strike outside the municipal corporation office.

Speaking to the media, AAP Chandigarh co-in-charge Sunny Ahluwalia showed another video of presiding officer Masih during the mayoral polls.

The AAP and Congress councillors had accused Masih of "tampering" with the ballot papers while counting.

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"This video has made it clear that the Bharatiya Janata Party is a 'vote-chor' party. They win elections by stealing votes and by rigging and hooliganism," alleged Ahluwalia.

"Masih only completed the work he was assigned. The real conspirator is someone else. Action should be taken against them also," said the AAP leader.

Ahluwalia said this time "they are caught red handed and now they cannot escape".

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Chandigarh Congress Committee president H S Lucky said his party will hold a series of protests in the coming days against the alleged "wrongdoings" of the BJP and Masih.

Mahila Congress and National Students Union of India (NSUI) will hold protests on Wednesday.

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.

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

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice J B 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 BJP on January 30 swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls against the Congress-AAP alliance.

Manoj Sonkar of the BJP 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. PTI CHS KVK KVK

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