Rahul Gandhi claims Narendra Modi was behind Chandigarh mayoral election fraud

Says the returning officer was merely a pawn in the hands of BJP


After the Supreme Court, on Tuesday, declared the AAP-Congress alliance candidate Kuldeep Kumar the mayor of Chandigarh after overturning the result of the controversial poll where the BJP nominee had emerged the winner, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a role in the entire controversy.

Taking to X, Gandhi claimed that returning officer Anil Masih, against whom the apex court ordered criminal prosecution for allegedly giving false statement before it and his "misdemeanour" during the counting of votes, is merely a pawn in the hands of the saffron party.

"Masih (the returning officer for the poll) is just a 'pawn' in the BJP's conspiracy to murder democracy, behind which is the 'face' of Modi," Gandhi said.

The Congress party hailed the SC decision, saying it saved democracy from the fangs of an "autocratic BJP" that resorted to dirty election manipulation.

Party president Mallikarjun Kharge said the "institutional sabotage" is only the "tip of the iceberg in Modi-Shah's devious conspiracy to trample democracy".

The BJP had won the Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30 defeating the AAP-Congress alliance candidate after the returning officer declared as invalid eight votes of the coalition partners, drawing accusations of tampering with ballots.

In its verdict, the apex court noted that as per the result declared on January 30, Kumar had got 12 votes and his tally of votes now goes up to 20 after adding the eight which were invalidated.

The court said Masih had evidently put his own mark on these eight ballot papers for the purpose of creating a ground for treating them as invalidly cast.

"That apart, it is evident that the presiding officer (Masih) is guilty of serious misdemeanour in doing what he did in his role and capacity as presiding officer," it said.

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