Just after the Supreme Court slammed the Returning Officer of the Chandigarh mayoral elections for defacing ballot papers, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) released CCTV footage on Monday night purporting to show presiding officer Anil Masih allegedly tampering with the ballot papers before declaring them invalid.
With the video published on X, the AAP wrote: “Now accept it, BJP.” What could be better proof than this? See how the BJP’s Presiding Officer shamelessly violated the democratic flag by cancelling the votes. “This is living proof of the BJP’s dictatorship.”
Kuldeep Kumar, an AAP councillor who lost the mayoral election, filed a petition with the Supreme Court, saying that Masih scribbled eight voting papers for Congress-AAP coalition councillors, rendering them void. In the January 30 elections, the BJP won all three seats, defeating the Congress-AAP combination, which claimed that the presiding officer tampered with ballot papers.
On January 30, the BJP won the Chandigarh mayoral elections, retaining all three positions. Manoj Sonkar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeated Kumar by 16 votes to 12, winning the Mayor’s seat. Eight votes were deemed invalid. The results were seen as a loss for the Congress-AAP alliance, which accused the presiding officer of tampering with voting papers.
ਹੁਣ ਤਾਂ ਮੰਨ ਜਾਓ @BJP4India ਵਾਲਿਓ!— AAP Punjab (@AAPPunjab) February 5, 2024
ਇਸਤੋਂ ਵੱਡਾ ਸਬੂਤ ਹੋਰ ਕੀ ਹੋ ਸਕਦੈ। ਦੇਖੋ ਕਿਵੇਂ BJP ਦੇ Presiding Officer ਨੇ ਸ਼ਰੇਆਮ ਖ਼ੁਦ ਹੀ ਵੋਟਾਂ ਕੈਂਸਲ ਕਰਕੇ ਉਡਾਈਆਂ ਲੋਕਤੰਤਰ ਦੀਆਂ ਧੱਜੀਆਂ।
ਇਹ ਭਾਜਪਾ ਦੀ ਤਾਨਾਸ਼ਾਹੀ ਦਾ ਜਿਉਂਦਾ ਜਾਗਦਾ ਸਬੂਤ ਹੈ।#ChandigarhMayor pic.twitter.com/BIxIhrwRv6
The footage was shown in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, after which CJI Chandrachud stated that the Returning Office had defiled the voting papers.
“This individual has to be prosecuted. So, why is he looking at the camera? We are shocked, Mr Solicitor (General), that democracy is being mocked and murdered. Is this the conduct of a returning officer, Justice Chandrachud observed after viewing a video clip of the electoral process?” the CJI asked.
He further stated that the court will not allow democracy to be assassinated in this manner, and that if the poll process is not clean, the Supreme Court will order new elections.