Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar wrote one more letter to Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney on the issue of local body elections in February. The SEC clarified to the CS that he was writing the letter in accordance with the High Court directions for taking cooperation from the AP Government for conducting the elections. Within 15 days, the Chief Secretary would have to submit a report on the steps taken for conducting the local polls in the State.
Nimmagadda repeatedly clarified in his letter that he was only following the court directions. The panchayat raj and the finance departments would have to give necessary funds, staff and other cooperation necessary to hold the polls in order to fulfill the constitutional mandate. The SEC referred to the order given by the court in the writ petition no. 19258 wherein the CS was directed to take necessary steps for cooperating with the SEC to hold the elections.
Despite the court orders, the ruling party leaders, Ministers and officials were giving ample indications that the situation was not favorable for holding the elections at this juncture. Coronavirus second wave is expected to threaten the health of the people. As such, it would be too risky if the voters were allowed in crowds at the polling stations.
The issue has almost come to a logical end now. The SEC is going ahead with the elections and sought cooperation from the Government as directed by the court. The YCP regime might have ignored the SEC but it would not be able to straightaway neglect the court’s orders. If past incidents are taken into consideration, there may be a chance for the Government to approach the Supreme Court yet again.