Amaravati, Jan 9 (IANS) A controversy has erupted between the Andhra Pradesh government and the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar when the latter allegedly unilaterally declared the schedule for conducting the rural local body elections.
On Friday, state Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das wrote to the SEC that the halted rural local body elections could be resumed once the vaccination programme starts rolling and coronavirus is managed.
“Once this pandemic is tackled with vaccination, the state would agree to any schedule of resumption of the halted local election process. In view of the wellbeing of the people of Andhra Pradesh, the SEC may consider the request of state government,” said Das.
He met the SEC along with other officials to present the state government’s viewpoint. However, the SEC went ahead and declared the election schedule.
A host of ruling YSRCP leaders lashed out at Kumar for the decision at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is still raging and infecting people, including the new second wave emerging with the new strain.
“Everybody knows that Kumar is acting on somebody else’s behest along with a personal motive. What is unfortunate is that he is putting people’s lives at risk,” said Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu.
The Minister alleged that Kumar is behaving in such a way that he wants his agenda to prevail at any cost, disregarding public health.
“At a time when there was no coronavirus effect, he postponed the polls. Now when the state government is highlighting that there is Covid and vaccination… even curfews in some cities, he has still unilaterally declared elections, indicating that he has a personal agenda or somebody else’s influence on him,” Kannababu opined.
He questioned why Kumar did not conduct elections during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime.
“You behave in one way when Chandrababu Naidu was in power and another way when Jagan Mohan Reddy is in power,” Kannababu said.
A large number of government employees associations have also told Kumar to reconsider his decision in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
They highlighted that at present, during winter, when a second wave of the pandemic is feared to strike with a new strain, the SEC cannot go ahead with the panchayat elections ignoring the health and well-being of lakhs of families.