Andhra CM slams state election commissioner's decision of postponing local body elections

Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], Mar 15 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday slammed State Election Commissioner's decision of postponing the local body elections for six weeks and indirectly criticised 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. 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.

Reddy accused Naidu of false propaganda. "Chandrababu Naidu is making false propaganda on local body elections that candidates are not allowed to file nominations. Out of all local bodies in the State, only 57 stray incidents took place. He is crying foul that elections are becoming unanimous. But when his party had won unanimously, pro TDP media propagated it as his victory. But now when we are winning unanimously, he is unable to bear it."

Attacking the State Election Commissioner, Reddy further said: "The State Election Commissioner has read the script written by somebody else. He postponed the local body elections in the name of discretionary power. Does the State Election Commissioner have powers that are more than that of the elected chief minister? He himself would have ruled the state. We wanted to conduct local body elections before the end of this month, as we will get Central government funds of almost Rs 5000 crore in time. If elections are postponed, we are going to lose those funds for one more year. The officials should think over it. I have complained to the Governor about this matter and appealed to think over it. I requested him to take appropriate action."

Commenting upon the coronavirus outbreak, he said: "The impact of coronavirus is more on people who are above 60 years and have ill-health records. In 80 per cent of people, it comes and goes. Action should be taken, and we are taking it. But I don't think there is a situation of panic at least in our State. I don't think it is such a big reason for postponing the local body elections." (ANI)