SEC alleges Andhra government not in favour of holding elections during his tenure

ANI
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Andhra Pradesh (Vijayawada) [India], January 9 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar on Friday wrote another letter to state's Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das in which he alleged that the government did not favour holding elections during the tenure of the present Commissioner and will hold elections only after he demitted office.

"It is also indicative (as reported) that the party (and the Government by default) is not in favour of holding elections during the tenure of the present Commissioner and shall hold elections only after my demitting office on March 7, 2021. There is a clear divergence of the stated grounds for postponement advanced by your principal Secretary in the "real politic" as was evidenced in the address to the party cadres by the ranking functionary! The significance of this is not lost on the commission!" he wrote in his letter.

He said that the Commission is of the view that such utterances will conclusively influence the Government's action (if not already done) vis-a-vis local body elections.

The SEC referred to the High Court judgment that stated the local body elections will be held only after Tripura LS by-polls, either in April or May and that party cadre should be well prepared. The functionary also stated legal hurdles came in the way so far.

"Needless to say this is in complete variance with what your Principal Secretary had to say on the elections front. The Commission shall act based on canons of strict neutrality as well as rationality combined with public interest," said Kumar.

He further reiterated that it will not be possible to give a further date beyond as was suggested by the principal Secretary.

"Therefore, the Commission is geared up to give a hearing on 8-1-2021 to the views of State Government in person. If the Government chooses not to avail this opportunity so generously offered, it will be construed that the Government had foregone the same," he added.

He also quoted the High Court statement which clearly ordered the government to submit a written instructions/guidelines issued by the Union of India pertaining to Covid-l9, within three days for consideration of the State Election Commission and for taking appropriate action.

"This Court deems it appropriate to dispose of the Writ petition, asking the petitioner-State Government to submit a written version enclosing all relevant material in respect of its pleas and the instructions/guidelines issued by the Union of India pertaining to Covid-l9, within a period of three days from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, for consideration of the State Election Commission and for taking appropriate action, after giving opportunity to the officials concerned, of the State Government after submission of the said written version.

"For undertaking the consultation process, it is open for the State Election Commission to fix a venue and time so as to enable the representatives of the State Government, who are not below the rank of Principal Secretary to the Government, to attend the consultation process. In fact, on instructions, the learned Advocate General and the learned Standing Counsel appearing for the respondent expressed their consent for the above said course of action. It is made clear that all the contentions and the pleas raised in this Writ petition are kept open," the court order reads.

"This may be kindly be kept in reckoning and the Commission reiterates that January 8, 2021 is the date finally indicated after due and careful consideration. The Commission sincerely hopes for the Government availing of the same," he further added.

Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary in his letter to ESC has requested to halt local body elections and requested to resume once the total vaccination programme along with coronavirus management is allowed to proceed unhindered.

The SEC on Friday announced the schedule of elections of gram panchayats in four phases beginning February 5.

The SEC will issue the election notification on January 23 for Phase-I, January 27 for Phase-II, January 31 for Phase-III and February 4 for Phase-IV. The last date for nominations is January 27, 31, February 4 and 8 respectively. Polling where will be held on February 5, 9, 13 and 17. Voting will take place from 6.30 am to till 3.30 pm. The counting of votes will also be done over through the four phases. (ANI)