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"BJP had 'stolen' elections but we ultimately won": Arvind Kejriwal hails SC verdict

New Delhi: Welcoming the Supreme Court judgement in the Chandigarh mayor polls declaring Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councillor Kuldeep Kumar as the winner of the elections, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said that the verdict is a major victory for the INDIA bloc adding that BJP can be defeated with proper planning and strategy.

Addressing a press conference, Kejriwal said, "I think this has happened for the first time in India's history. We thank the Supreme Court. The situation in the country is such that a dictatorship is going on. Democracy is being trampled. All institutions are being trampled. At such a time, this decision of the Supreme Court holds a lot of significance for democracy."

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra quashed the decision by Returning Officer Anil Masih by which be declared BJP candidate Manoj Kumar Sonkar as Chandigarh Mayor on January 30.

AAP supremo further stated that BJP stole the elections but it is the INDIA bloc that came out as the legitimate winner in the end.

"This is the major victory of the INDIA Alliance - the first and massive. We have snatched away victory from them. They had 'stolen' the election, the votes. But we fought till the end and ultimately won. Those who say that BJP can't be defeated - BJP can be defeated with unity, with good planning and strategy and hard work. These results prove the same," he said.

The order of the apex court came as it found that the Returning Officer had deliberately defaced eight ballots that were cast in favour of Kuldeep Kumar so as to make them invalid.

The apex court today physically examined the ballot papers and found that they are not defaced. It directed that Kuldeep Kumar be declared as mayor with 20 votes (12 votes which he received and 8 which were for him and were defaced by Masih).

"The eight votes which were treated as invalid by making those markings... counting the eight votes for the petitioner (AAP candidate Kumar) will make him have 20 votes. We direct that the election result by the Returning Officer is quashed. The petitioner is declared to be the winner of the Chandigarh mayoral polls," the bench said in its order.

The bench slammed Masih saying he had "unlawfully altered the course of the mayoral election." The apex court during the hearing noted that eight ballots were cast in favour of the AAP Mayor candidate. 

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