State Election Commission defends postponing AP local body elections

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VIJAYAWADA: The State Election Commissioner (SEC) of Andhra Pradesh defended the decision to postpone the local body elections for six weeks in the state citing the health advisory issued by the Centre over coronavirus.

 

The clarification came after Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday slammed the decision of postponing the local body elections for six weeks and alleged that SEC was acting at the behest of TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

"In the contest of certain aspersions cast on the decisions taken by the State Election Commission, the factual clarification is as follows--The Government of India had issued a health advisory to the states to -avoid larger public gatherings some time back. On March 14, the Government of India had classified coronavirus as a 'disaster' and kept the nation in a state of preparedness. The State Election Commissioner did contact national level functionaries before taking a decision on the threat 'Corona' posed," a press note by the SEC on Sunday read.

"If the aforesaid warning is de-escalated, the State Election Commission will restart the election process without loss of a single day," it added.

The SEC further clarified that the Commission is of the view that "the present elections are merely put on a hold and not cancelled".

The SEC added that they could be restarted in six weeks or before, if the threat posed by the diseases is de-escalated.

Earlier, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy had indirectly said that it appears the SEC was acting at the behest of TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

"It seems the Election Commissioner is being directed from behind. The order is prepared without the notice of even his secretary. Present State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar was appointed by N Chandrababu Naidu. Ramesh belongs to the same caste as Naidu's”, Reddy had said.

“The primary nature of the EC should be that he should act impartially and rise above caste, creed, religion, race, region, and party as far as work goes," the Chief Minister said.

"Andhra Pradesh Election Commissioner has postponed the local body elections citing coronavirus as the reason. But at the same time, he transferred two district collectors and some police officers, and suspended some police officers. He issued orders to stop the housing 'pattas' distribution scheme to be launched on March 25, which was announced a long time back. How can he do so?" he added.

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday demanded that fresh elections should be conducted in Andhra Pradesh under the supervision of the Central Election Commission because of the inability of the SEC to ensure a free and fair election.

Naidu also accused Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy of disrespecting and attacking State Election Commission instead of realizing the immediate need to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the state.
 

With inputs from ANI

Image creidt: The Hans India

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