SEC overrules AP govt objection,announces schedule for conduct of elections to gram panchayts

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Amaravati, Jan 8 (PTI): Overruling the objections raised by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government, the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission on Friday night announced the schedule for conduct of elections to gram panchayats in four phases beginning February 5.

State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, with whom the Jagan regime has been engaged in a battle since March last year, announced the schedule hours after his meeting with Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das and other top officials.

Reacting to this, the government said announcement of gram panchayat poll schedule was unilateral and amounted to violation of the Supreme Court orders.

'The SEC has adamantly announced the poll schedule without considering the state governments views.

It is a brazen display of arrogance of power,' Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary G K Dwivedi said in a statement.

The notification for the first phase of gram panchayat elections will be issued on January 23 and polling held on February 5.

For the second phase, the notification will be issued on January 27 and polling on February 9.

The third phase polling is scheduled for February 13, for which the notification will be issued on January 31.

The final phase polling will be held on February 17 and the notification will be issued on the 4th, according to the SECs schedule.

Ramesh Kumar said the model code of conduct would come into force from January 9 in accordance with the judgment of the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Secretary, along with Principal Secretaries Anil Kumar Singhal (Health) and Gopal Krishna Dwivedi (Panchayat Raj), held a meeting with the SEC as per the directions of the High Court.

In the meeting, the state officials said they were not ready to conduct the elections as the government machinery would be busily engaged with the administration of coronavirus vaccine.

The government machinery would be engaged for a period of at least eight months in the vaccination programme and as such conduct of elections would not be possible, official sources said.

However, the SEC went ahead with the announcement of the schedule. PTI DBV APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR