AP local body polls: Resolution passed against holding local body polls amid COVID-19 pandemic

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The legislative assembly worked for 39 hours in 5 days. 18 bills are introduced, two bills are withdrawn, 19 bills are passed and two resolutions are made in this session

 

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly on Friday hit out at the State Election Commission for seeking to conduct elections to the local bodies amid the COVID-19 pandemic and passed a resolution stating that the present situation in the state is not conducive for elections in February 2021.

The House also resolved that suitable legal provisions be incorporated in the AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994, and consequent rules to handle such situations.

Deputy Chief Minister A K K Srinivas moved the resolution at the fag end of the five-day winter session and Legislative Affairs Minister Buggana Rajendranath supported it. The House then passed it "unanimously" in the absence of opposition Telugu Desam Party members.

Earlier, ten MLAs of the Telugu Desam Party were suspended from the Assembly for the fifth consecutive day on Friday, the last day of the winter session, on the charge that they disrupted the proceedings of the House.

"The perfunctory manner in which the concerns of the state have ben brushed aside by the SEC are not in spirit with the framework of the Constitution and the statute. The Legislature opines that the conduct of elections, before the availability of efficacious mass vaccine and before the threat of Covid-19 recedes, would be injurious to public health and safety," the resolution said.

“The state is obligated to ensure the health of its citizens and at the very minimum not to initiate any activity which compromises their life and health. The state machinery has therefore communicated that it would be imprudent to schedule any elections at this time and this resolution has in its context the decision of the State Election Commission to schedule the elections in February 2021”, it noted.

"The concern for public health cannot be a subject matter of competitive assessment and the states bonafide opinion on such matter ought not to have been brushed aside”, it said.

“Local bodies elections and the legitimacy of the elected members is directly related to the voters choice. If the voters do not turnout to exercise their franchise to choose their representatives out of fear of Covid and danger to their lives, it deprives them of their fundamental right to vote, which is the very foundation of a true democracy. It may result in an elected body not being true representative of the people," it noted.

After the suspension of 10 TDP MLAs and a walkout of former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and other TDP MLAs, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy spoke on agreement with AMUL and said it will benefit the women and milk farmers will get additional income.

He said they expected that Chandrababu Naidu will be in the house while the discussion on agreement with AMUL is held, but he is thinking of mere selfish motives.

He alleged that Chandrababu sent his MLAs into the speaker's podium and created a ruckus, and intentionally got suspended from the house.

Later discussion is held on the corona pandemic. Deputy Chief Minister (Health) Alla Kalikrishna Srinivas and CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy explained the measures taken by the state government in combat against corona.

The legislative assembly worked for 39 hours in 5 days. 18 bills are introduced, two bills are withdrawn, 19 bills are passed and two resolutions are made in this session.

 

With inputs from Agency

Image credit: New Indian Express

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