ECI gives conditional nod for Andhra cabinet meet

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The Election Commission of India finally gave its nod to Andhra Pradesh for holding cabinet meeting on Tuesday, subject to condition that any new decision will require permission of the poll body before implementation.

A spokesperson for ECI said any new decision, revision of rates or any outstanding payment will require its permission before implementation.

The poll body also laid down the condition that there should be no media announcement of cabinet decisions such as enhancement of rates.

The cabinet meeting will be held at 3 p.m. on Tuesday with four-point agenda approved by the poll body.

The ECI’s nod ended the suspense on the cabinet meeting called by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu amid his stand-off with ECI-appointed Chief Secretary L.V. Subramanyam over the issue.

The cabinet meeting was originally scheduled on May 10 but had to be postponed as the chief secretary sought clearance from the ECI in view of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Unhappy with ECI for preventing him from holding review meetings, Naidu had called the cabinet meeting and sent communication to the chief secretary along with the agenda that included ‘Fani’ cyclone relief, drinking water problem, prevailing drought conditions and implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).

Subramanyam held consultations with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) G.K. Diwedi and other senior officials on MCC and sent the proposal to ECI for its approval.

Following this, the chief minister postponed the cabinet meeting to May 14. However, there was no permission from ECI till Monday evening.

Earlier in the day Subramanyam called on the chief minister and discussed the issue in detail.

The officials of various departments were caught in the tussle between the chief minister and the chief secretary as the chief minister has warned the officials that action would be taken against those not attending the cabinet meeting.

Naidu on many occasions vent his anger over ECI not allowing him to hold review meetings while permitting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the chief ministers in other poll-bound states to conduct cabinet meetings.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had also shot off letters to ECI over what he called its biased approach.

Elections to 175-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats were held on April 11. The counting of votes will be taken up on May 23 along with Lok Sabha constituencies across the country.

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