Weeks after switching to the Bharatiya Janata Party, two councillors from the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation rejoined the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday, reported PTI.

At the time of voting for Chandigarh mayoral polls on January 30, the BJP had 14 councillors in the 35-member civic body, the Aam Aadmi Party had 13 and the Congress had seven. The Shiromani Akali Dal has one councillor.

However, on February 18, three Aam Aadmi Party councillors – Neha Musawat, Poonam Devi and Gurcharan Kala – joined the BJP. The development came two days before the Supreme Court set aside the result of the mayoral election declared by Anil Masih, the presiding officer, noting that he defaced the ballot papers to invalidate them.

On Saturday, Musawat and Devi returned to the Aam Aadmi Party, calling it their “ghar wapsi”, or return to home.

Supreme Court on mayoral polls

The Supreme Court on February 20 declared the Aam Aadmi Party’s Kuldeep Kumar Tita as the validly elected candidate for the Chandigarh mayor’s post.

During the elections, Manoj Sonkar from the BJP bagged 16 votes and defeated Tita, the joint candidate fielded by the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress, who secured 12 votes.

However, this was after eight votes from the Opposition alliance were declared invalid, which triggered protests by supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress against Masih. Tita had approached the top court challenging the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s refusal on January 31 to stay the outcome of the polls.

Hearing the case, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra had asserted that Masih “unlawfully altered the course of the mayoral election”.

Municipal corporation polls

Following the Supreme Court verdict, re-elections for the senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor posts in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation were held on March 4. The BJP won both the posts.

The BJP’s Kuljit Singh Sandhu was elected as the senior deputy mayor after he defeated Gurpreet Singh Gabi, the candidate jointly fielded by the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, by three votes.

Sandhu got 19 votes and Gurpreet got 16, while one vote was declared invalid.

On the other hand, Rajinder Sharma from the BJP won the deputy mayor post after securing 19 votes while the Aam Aadmi Party-Congress’ joint candidate Nirmala Devi got 17 votes.

Musawat and Devi’s votes played a key role in the BJP achieving victory as after their defection, the party’s strength increased from 14 to 17. The Aam Aadmi Party had ten members. The Chandigarh Lok Sabha MP is an ex-officio member with voting rights. The current MP is BJP’s Kirron Kher.