AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak said the SC’s observation has restored and reinforced the people’s faith in the judiciary. (Image: News18)
On seat-sharing talks with INDIA ally Congress, AAP leader Sandeep Pathak said it should be getting closed and cleared as soon as possible, and that his party is very much a part of the opposition front
The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on the returning officer appointed for the Chandigarh mayoral polls. This came after the AAP and Congress challenged the results of the elections held on January 30. Sandeep Pathak, AAP Rajya Sabha MP, said truth always prevails and the top court’s observation has restored and reinforced the people’s faith in the judiciary. Excerpts from an interview:
What is the biggest takeaway from the SC hearing today?
The biggest takeaway is that truth prevails. The Supreme Court has observed that the entire practice on the day of the election was not in line with prescribed norms and rules. Therefore, we are all happy. You must have seen that the AAP and Congress combined had about 20 votes and the BJP had 16. It is a very clear cut, simple, open-and-shut case. There is no doubt about which party the mayor will belong to. So, until we do that, we will not rest and continue our fight. But, we welcome the observation from the Supreme Court. The faith of the people in this country is restored and reinforced in the judicial system.
You were present there that day and heard about how the election was apparently sabotaged. Can you tell us a little more about that? What led to these apprehensions?
In the video camera recording, you can see the presiding officer purposefully making marks on the ballot papers so as to declare them invalid. All of us have seen and the entire country has also seen it. I was told that the presiding officer and those coordinating already had a plan beforehand to make marks or tear the ballot papers, and to switch off the cameras at that moment. But, their coordination went awry and the person, instead of switching off the camera, appeared to have simply switched off the TV. The camera, however, was on and the whole process was live-streamed in other places. Had the person switched off the camera, we would not be talking about this.
The loss in the mayoral elections was billed as a big blow to the INDIA bloc as you had said if your candidate won, it would be the first victory for the opposition front. How do you see that?
Well, it is quite obvious. If you have a clear cut majority, then you should win. Even if it is baby steps, it is a welcome one and in a positive direction.
But, that day it was not positive. That day, the results went against you.
It’s not positive because the Modi government is bent on destroying institution after institution. You name any, PM (Narendra) Modi and the BJP are destroying them. And that is why there is so much confusion. But I believe, at some point, the truth will prevail.
How do you think this will impact seat-sharing talks? Everybody now wants to hear about the number of seats, the candidates. How is it going to be done?
All of us are waiting as to when the seat-sharing talks will be closed. It is being delayed, I understand. And all of us should understand that it will be cleared as soon as possible. Having said that, the AAP is very much with the alliance and we believe that we should fight the elections together.
So, for Delhi, will it be 4-3 for the AAP-Congress?
Well, I don’t know. I won’t know till the committee decides. All I can say is that the committee should sit and decide as soon as possible.
Is Punjab also on the table?
It is difficult to say so. All the states are on the table for discussion. Whether it will happen in Punjab or Gujarat or Haryana or in Assam or elsewhere, that is difficult to say until seat-sharing talks are closed.