ZPTC, MPTC elections in AP to be delayed till appointment of new SEC

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Amaravati, Mar 24 (PTI) Elections to the mandal parishad and zilla parishad territorial constituencies in Andhra Pradesh are expected to be delayed by a month as the State Election Commission on Wednesday said it will not be announcing a schedule till a new State Election Commissioner takes over after the incumbent demits office on March 31.

State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar said in a release here that the prerequisite four-week Model Code of Conduct, as well as the Election Commission of India observations concerning poll staff and (Covid-19) vaccination programme, rule out holding of elections under my charge as my tenure is coming to an end shortly.' 'A window of opportunity to hold the MPTC and ZPTC elections, and thereby demit office with a clear record of fulfilling the mandate which the Commission hoped for, however, was lost having to weather several unexpected legal challenges the Commission was beset with.

Under these compelling circumstances the Commission will not be announcing a schedule for MPTC and ZPTC elections,' the SEC said.

The SEC's statement puts an end to uncertainty over the conduct of elections to the second and third tiers of the Panchayat Raj System, which were originally postponed in March 2020 after the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Though the Commission completed the elections to village panchayats and urban local bodies in February and March this year, the process for MPTC and ZPTCs was held back.

In a reversal of stances, the state government wanted immediate conduct of the MPTC and ZPTC polls while the SEC showed no inclination to complete the formalities.

Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy himself spoke out on the issue saying only six days remained for the MPTC and ZPTC election process to get completed and wanted the SEC to finish it off, enabling the government to focus fully on development works as well as the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Citing the pending court litigation over the poll process, the SEC did not announce the schedule even as his retirement day came closer. PTI DBV ROH ROH