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AAP's Kuldeep Kumar assumes charge as Chandigarh mayor

Senior Congress and AAP leaders, including Pawan Bansal, H S Lucky, S S Ahluwalia, Pradeep Chhabra, and several councillors were present on the occasion.
Last Updated 28 February 2024, 18:44 IST

Chandigarh: AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar on Wednesday assumed the charge as mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, over a week after the Supreme Court declared him as the civic body chief.

Senior Congress and AAP leaders, including Pawan Bansal, H S Lucky, S S Ahluwalia, Pradeep Chhabra, and several councillors were present on the occasion.

On February 20, the Supreme Court declared Kumar as the new mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation after it overturned the result of the mayoral poll in which the BJP candidate had emerged the winner.

It had also ordered prosecution of the returning officer for the poll, Anil Masih, a BJP leader, for his 'misdemeanour', after finding serious faults in the conduct of the January 30 election.

In the January 30 mayoral poll, the BJP's Manoj Sonkar had been declared the winner of the mayoral poll. He had defeated the comfortably placed AAP-Congress alliance candidate after the returning officer declared as invalid eight votes of the coalition partners, drawing accusations of tampering with ballots.

Sonkar of the BJP had defeated Kumar after polling 16 votes against his rival's 12 to bag the mayor's post.

The councillors of the AAP and the Congress later boycotted the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, leading to the victory of BJP candidates Kuljit Sandhu and Rajinder Sharma on their respective posts.

Kumar, who was the joint candidate of the AAP and the Congress for the mayoral poll, had initially moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the declaration of Chandigarh mayoral result on January 30.

After not getting any interim relief, he moved the Supreme Court for quashing the election of the BJP candidate as the mayor.

Meanwhile, the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor will be held on March 4.

The Chandigarh administration on Tuesday had placed a formal schedule regarding the polling for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Congress councillors Gurpreet Singh Gabi and Nirmala Devi, who were the candidates for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, had moved the high court, challenging the notification of the Chandigarh deputy commissioner for conducting the polls for these posts on February 27.

Then the Union territory administration withdrew its earlier notification and issued the fresh notification for holding the poll on March 4.

Gabi and Nirmala on Wednesday filed their nominations for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor respectively.

The mayor is the presiding officer for the elections to the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.

In the 35-member Chandigarh MC House, the BJP has 17 councillors. The number of BJP's strength increased from 14 to 17 after three AAP councillors switched over to it on February 19.

Chandigarh MP Kirron Kher, who is a BJP member, also has voting rights as an ex-officio member of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation.

The AAP has 10 while the Congress has seven councillors. The Shiromani Akali Dal has one councillor.

The Congress and the AAP are fighting the polls in alliance.

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(Published 28 February 2024, 18:44 IST)

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