State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar is yet again gearing up for another legal battle with the Jagan government.
Ramesh Kumar is likely to knock on the doors of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on elections to the local bodies. The Andhra Pradesh government was keen on going ahead with Panchayat Raj elections in March even as the country was grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic. While the Covid-19 situation is getting better, the Andhra Pradesh government has filed a petition in the High Court that elections should not be held due to the pandemic situation.
The Chief Minister’s advisor Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy has clearly stated that the Andhra Pradesh government is not ready for the local elections citing a possible second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
His comments come in the wake of Ramesh Kumar holding consultations with all the political parties to discuss the issue of holding elections to local bodies. All the political parties attended the meeting with the SEC, barring the YSRCP.
On Tuesday, Ramesh Kumar announced that elections will be held in February. With the AP government against holding the elections, Ramesh Kumar is likely to file a petition in the High Court contending that elections are a constitutional obligation. In his petition, he is likely to cite the recently held elections in Dubbaka and the upcoming GHMC polls to buttress his point to go ahead with polls in Andhra Pradesh.
Ramesh Kumar is likely to bring it to the notice of the High Court that the Andhra Pradesh government is hostile towards the SEC and not cooperating with the constitutional body. Ramesh Kumar will appeal to the High Court to direct the state government to cooperate and assist in all respects for smooth conduct of affairs of the commission and its endeavor to hold free and fair elections to the local bodies.
Ramesh Kumar had earlier petitioned the HC alleging that the Andhra Pradesh government was not cooperating to allow the proper functioning of the State Election Commission. He told the HC that the state government had not released funds worth Rs 40 lakh which were sanctioned to the Commission back in January 2020.
On Tuesday, Ramesh Kumar noted that the Covid-19 pandemic situation in the state has improved with a drastic drop in daily caseload from more than 10,000 to 753. He also stated that the elections are necessary for getting central funds. Ramesh Kumar also wrote to Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney on the reorganization of districts in Andhra Pradesh.
In the letter, Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar said since the elections to the local bodies will be held reorganizing districts was not appropriate. He said the elections to the local bodies will be held in 13 districts, and hence the number of districts cannot be more than 13. He also asked the CS to hold a video-conference with district collectors on the issue of elections to local bodies.
It is clear that Ramesh Kumar has unleashed a full-blown legal battle against the Andhra Pradesh government. So far, he succeeded with all the court verdicts going in his favor. Ramesh Kumar, in all likelihood, could succeed in his latest legal onslaught against the Jagan government.