TDP seeks Andhra Guv’s intervention in local body polls

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Amid another stand-off between the Andhra Pradesh government and the State Election Commission (SEC) on the holding of panchayat elections, opposition TDP on Sunday urged Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan to intervene in the matter.

Former Minister and senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Y Ramakrishnudu said that the SEC has the right to conduct the elections as per Article 243A and 243K(1). He said that it was for the Governor to make the required staff available for holding elections in the state.

The TDP leader alleged that the situation in the state was such that it could attract Article 356 of the Constitution pertaining to the breakdown of the state machinery and imposition of President’s rule.

He accused the YSR Congress Party government in the state of working to “destroy the institutions of legislature, judiciary, executive, media and police”.

“Since there is a breakdown of the Constitution, the situation attracts Article 365. When the situation in a state is not conducive to governance, the Governor should intervene,” he said.

The TDP leader termed as “ridiculous” the statement by Ministers that the state government can’t cooperate in the conduct of the elections. “Such a situation never arose in the country’s history,” he said.

Ramakrishnudu said that in no other state had employees’ organisations refused to cooperate in the conduct of the elections. “When there was no objection to queues at liquor shops, why should there be any objection to voters’ queues?” he asked.

He pointed out that Bihar Assembly elections and bypolls in various states were held amid Covid-19 pandemic wheras elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are also going to be conducted despite the pandemic. “Will the Andhra government then not conduct local body elections till June 2022 because of Covid-19?” Ramakrishnudu asked.

The TDP leader alleged that Jagan Mohan Reddy government was “afraid of facing the elections”. He said that the ruling party was scared of public resentment and hence creating hurdles in the conduct of local polls.

The state on Saturday challenged in the High Court the SEC’s decision to hold the panchayat elections. This came a day after the SEC overruled state’s objections and announced the schedule of gram panchayat elections in four phases from February 5.

State Election Commissioner M Ramesh Kumar and the state government are locked in a bitter row since March last year.

Taking strong exception to Ramesh Kumar’s move to postpone local body elections in March due to coronavirus pandemic, the government had removed him from the post. However, the High Court later reinstated him.

The YSRCP government has termed the schedule of gram panchayat polls as unilateral and a violation of the Supreme Court orders.

The officials made it clear that they were not ready to conduct the elections as the government machinery would be engaged in the vaccination drive for at least eight months.

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