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Peaceful polling to 6 seats of Telangana Council sees heavy turnout


The polling for biennial elections to six seats of Telangana Legislative Council from local authority constituencies was held peacefully amid tight security arrangements on Friday.

Local body representatives, including corporators, councilors, ZPTC and MPTC members, cast their votes in the six constituencies in five undivided districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam, Medak and Nalgonda

The polling was held for two seats in Karimnagar district and one each in the remaining four districts. A total of 5,326 voters were eligible to cast their votes.

Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel said the highest turnout of 99.70 per cent was recorded in Karimnagar, followed by Medak (99.22 per cent), Nalgonda (97.01), Khammam (96.09 per cent) and Adilabad (91.78 per cent).

He said the polling was peaceful and smooth at all the 37 polling stations, in which 26 candidates are in fray.

The CEO said that counting of votes will be taken up on December 14, for which tight security arrangements have been made at the strong rooms where the ballot boxes are kept.

Goel said Covid-19 protocols will be strictly enforced during the counting, and there will be no permission for victory processions after the declaration of results.

Facing rebel trouble, ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had shifted its local body members to Bengaluru, Goa, Delhi and other places to prevent the opposition parties from poaching. They were brought to a resort on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Thursday, from where they left for their respective districts on Friday morning.

TRS rebel candidate and former Karimnagar Mayor Sardar Ravinder Singh is contesting from one of the seats in the district. The BJP extended support to him. Congress candidates are in the fray in Medak, Khammam and Adilabad.

The Election Commission of India had last month issued notification for elections to six seats of the Council from local authority constituencies.

Earlier, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K. Kavitha and five other candidates of TRS were declared elected unanimously.

Kavitha was elected from the Nizamabad constituency. The others who were elected to the upper house of the state legislature are Patnam Mahender Reddy, Shambipur Raju (both from Rangareddy district), Pochampally Srinivas Reddy (Warangal), Kasireddy Narayana Reddy and Kuchumalla Damodar Reddy (both from Mahabubnagar district).

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Kuppam to Akiveedu, poll bugle sounds again in AP


It’s poll time again in Andhra Pradesh. The notification for the Nellore Municipal Corporation, 12 municipalities, 533 panchayat wards, 85 MPTCs and 11 ZPTCs has been issued. The elections to these local bodies would be held on November 14, 15 and 16.

The voting for the panchayats would be held on November 14 and the results would be declared on the same day. The polling for the municipalities and the corporation of Nellore would be held o n November 15 and the results would be out on November 17. The polling for the MPTCs and the ZPTCS would be held on November 16 and the counting would be taken up on November 18.

The election code would be in force from Monday afternoon and would be in force till the day of counting. The nominations would be filed between November 3 and November 5. The notification was issued by state election commissioner Neelam Sahani.

All attention is focused on the Nellore corporation and the Kuppam municipality in Chittoor district. Nellore is a YSRCP citadel and the TDP has been performing poorly in the whole district. Similarly, Kuppam municipality comes under Kuppam assembly constituency, which is traditionally represented by Chandrababu Naidu. But of late, the TDP has been slipping and the YSRCP has posted impressive victories in the local body polls. Many of the ZPTCs and MPTCs in Kuppam constituency have now been won by the YSRCP. To arrest the falling TDP graph, Chandrababu himself has begun touring in the municipality area.

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AP local body elections in February


The elections to the local bodies, which were postponed in March, will be held in February.

State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar said the SEC has consulted all the political parties with regard to conducting Panchayat Raj elections. He stated that there are no constitutional hurdles in conducting the elections.

He 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. Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar also stated that the Telangana government is holding GHMC elections and that holding elections is a constitutional obligation.

Further, Ramesh Kumar noted that the elections are necessary for getting central funds. He said the State Election Commission was in regular touch with the health ministry and health department to take stock of the current pandemic situation. He assured that the election to the local bodies will be held in the fairest and free manner without any partisan motives.

Earlier in the day, Ramesh Kumar shot off a letter 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.

The letter from Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar came a day after Supreme Court Chief Justice Bobde SA directed the AP government to seek permission from the SEC to ground any welfare scheme or development works. Further, Justice Bobde observed that it was imperative for the state government to consult the election commission before continuing welfare programs.

On March 17, the Supreme Court upheld the SEC decision to postpone local body elections in the state but lifted the Model Code of Conduct.

The State Election Commission (SEC) had postponed the election process of MPTC/ZPTC and urban local bodies citing the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a tearing hurry, the Jagan government promulgated the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 to reduce the term of SEC to three years from five years. The Andhra Pradesh government removed Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as SEC and retired Tamil Nadu judge Justice Kangaraj. The AP HC had directed the state government to reinstate Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as the State election Commissioner, and also struck down the government’s appointment of Kangaraj as the SEC.

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YCP, TDP gear up for civic body polls

Hyderabad: Battle lines are being drawn in Andhra Pradesh as the ruling YCP and opposition Telugu Desam Party slug it out at the municipal elections slated to be held on March 23 as well as zilla parishad territorial constituencies (ZPTCs) and mandal parishad territorial constituencies (MPTCs) to be held in two phases on March 27 and 29. Nominations for the MPTC and ZPTC polls had already begun. The municipal elections will be held in a single phase on March 23 and counting of votes will be taken up on March 27. Elections will not be held in Rajamahendravaram, Nellore and Srikakulam municipal corporations due to pending court cases.

The YCP is seeing the municipal elections as prestigious coming as it does for the first time after witnessing landslide victory in the 2019 Assembly elections. Both the parties have geared up to test their political fate in the local body polls which serve as litmus test for YCP and TDP. For the YCP, the elections will gauge the mood of the people on the performance of Jagan’s party in the last nine-months and also perhaps on the thorny and contentious issue of three capitals announced by the chief minister. However, the YCP received a setback after SEC directed the state government to put on hold its decision to distribute 26 lakh house sites for the poor as it can influence the voters. The YCP also received a blow from the Andhra Pradesh High Court that had quashed a government order granting 59 per cent reservations in local body elections and directed the ruling party to confine to only 50 per cent reservations.

For the TDP, the elections will be a do-or-die battle and puts a question mark on its survival in Andhra Pradesh. The YCP is heavily banking on the ‘Navaratnas’ or the nine welfare schemes including YSR Rythu Bharosa, Fee Reimbursement, Arogyasri, Jalayagnam, Ban on alcohol, YSR Asara, Amma Vodi, YSR Cheyutha, Pedhalandariki Illu and Pensionala Pempu. The YCP leaders think the welfare programmes will help the party sweep the civic polls and expects history to repeat much like the 2019 Assembly elections when the electorate gave the party a thumping mandate.

On its part, the TDP will try to tear into the YCP camp on issues like acquisition of assigned lands for the distribution of house sites and deletion of some names of beneficiaries from ration cards’ list.

The YCP is taking no chances and conducting a flash survey to zero in on winning horses. The key criteria for selecting candidates for the Greater Vishakapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), the YCP announced, will be winnability and loyalty. The YCP unleashed an exercise for selection of the candidates, a panel comprising MLAs and Assembly constituency coordinators had been set up for the same.

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Will Jagan delay local polls due to Corona virus scare?


TDP has written an open etter to CM Jaganmohan Reddy. It demanded that the AP government should implead in SLP filed in Supreme Court for overall 34 per cent BC quota. That has been a political demand which Jagan Reddy would not usually even take note of. But, the TDP leaders gave a new twist to it by bringing in the rising threat of Corona virus. Elections are not advisable because the whole world is cancelling major crowd-pulling events as part of precautionary steps against virus epidemic. Election campaigns and long queues at polling booths may bring together huge crowds which may harm people.

Unfortunately for Jagan Reddy, his Federal Front boss KCR has got a meeting of Amit Shah cancelled in Telangana in the name of virus. Cinema shootings are getting cancelled. People are cancelling their tours and pilgrimages. Will Jagan afford to ignore all this? However, political analysts say that Jagan is not in the habit of considering such issues to change his priorities. Jagan apparently wants to hit birds with one shot – ruining TDP BC votebank and getting Central funds.

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AP govt wants to hold local body polls on March 21, 24 and 27


The YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh has proposed to hold elections for all the local bodies in the state from March 21 to March 27.

The government approached the AP Election Commission with tentative schedule on Thursday.

The government proposed to hold MPTC polls on March 21, municipal polls on March 24 and village panchayat polls on March 27 and complete all the local body elections by this month-end.

The officials told state election commissioner Ramesh Kumar that this is the only solution to complete the local body polls by March-end and to get the 14th Finance Commission funds to the state and ensure that the state does not lose commission grants amounting to over Rs 3,200 crore.

If the AP government fails to complete polls by March 31 deadline, it will lose funds to all the local bodies.

For this reason, the government met state election commission officials and discussed on the scope for holding simultaneous polls to MPTC, ZPTC and sarpanch posts before March 31.

The State Election Commissioner told the meeting that a final decision would be taken after studying the feasibility of holding the polls by the month-end. The official said that he would be writing a letter to the Chief Secretary on behalf of the election commission for police security during the polls, drafting government servants on poll duty and on other allied matters.

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Is AP in danger of losing Rs 3,200 Cr Central funds?


The Backward Classes Associations are ignoring the YCP Government’s plea for allowing the AP local body elections to be held in the present form. They insist on their rights for 34 per cent reservations to be protected. They are also filing a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court for revival of their 34 per cent quota. Jagan Circar is saying that it is forced to hold the local body elections with just 24 per cent BC quota as there is no time available for Supreme Court appeal. The state will be in danger of losing Rs 3,200 Cr pending funds to come from the Centre under the 14th Finance Commission. This huge amount will lapse automatically by this month end if the state government doesn’t conduct local polls immediately.

Now, the BC leaders are asking why CM Jagan Reddy has not taken any prior care in the last ten months in order to fulfill all norms to secure Rs 3,200 Cr by completing local polls in time without cutting BC quota by 10 per cent. They are saying that Jagan Reddy will have to hold all responsibility for losing Central funds because of his own negligence. Chandrababu Naidu has already announced his party decision to appeal against the High Court order that has led to reduction of BC quota from 34 per cent to 24 per cent.

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Jana Sena and BJP tie up for local body polls


The Coordination Committee of the BJP and Jana Sena met in Vijayawada and decided to contest the coming local body elections jointly. The two parties will be setting up the local level coordination committees for maximum impact of their alliance in the field level.

Jana Sena leader Nadendla Manohar and BJP leader Daggubati Purandeswari were among those present at today’s coordination meeting. Later, they announced their parties’ tie-up for the local body polls. They have not given any indications of future possibilities of taking TDP as their ally.

Both Jana Sena and BJP hit back at the comments that they are trying to take political advantage out of the AP Council abolition crisis. The two parties accused the YCP and TDP of causing distress to the Amaravati Capital City farmers. They avoided comment on Council crisis but decided to go and express solidarity to the protesting farmers in Amaravati villages.

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