Can’t go for polls now, AP CS tells SEC
As anticipated, AP chief secretary Nilam Sahwney had told State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar that the state was not ready to hold local body elections at this point of time. She had categorically told the SEC that around 3,000 positive covid 19 cases are reported every day in the state and the state machinery is busy handling the pandemic.
She had further told the SEC that the police, the frontline warriors are the worst victims of the virus and the situation was not conducive to go for polls at this point of time. She said she would update the SEC when the situation returned to normalcy.
The SEC had held a meeting with the representatives of the political parties. He had invited 19 political parties duly recognised and registered with the Election Commission. However, only 11 parties have sent their representatives while two parties have sent their views. The rest, including the ruling YSR Congress in AP, the ruling TRS in Telangana, have not responded to the SEC’s invitation.
The main objection of the YSR Congress was that the SEC did not follow the directions of the Supreme Court when he decided to call for the all-party meeting to resume the elections. The court had told him to consul the State government before initiating the process. However, as expected, the SEC did not consult the government before inviting the political parties. He had later, to escape the contempt cases, called the health secretary and health commissioner for talks just a day before the political parties meeting. He also held talks with the chief secretary after his meeting with the political parties. This indicates that he is not ready for consultations with the state government but just wanted to make it a formality.
There are questions from the people on his intentions. He had postponed the elections when there were just two covid 19 cases in the second week of March. He did so without consulting the government and merely acted on the representations of the TDP and the CPI. Now, after a prolonged controversy over his decision, the SEC proposes to hold the elections when there are over 3000 covid 19 positive cases. One wonders how is he trying to justify his actions of postponing the elections when there were 3 cases and wants to resume elections when there are 3000 cases!?
The SEC could not hold a combined meeting of the representatives of the 11 parties who attended the meeting. He cited the covid 19 norms and held one-to-one meeting with them. If the SEC can’t hold a meeting for 11 representatives together, how is he expecting the state government to pack the polling stations with 1000 voters and how is he expecting the electioneering to go with the candidates and their supporters campaigning?!
Interestingly, the outcome of the meeting he had with the 11 political parties was that to cancel the previous elections and want the process to be started afresh. This would mean a slap on the face of the ruling party and he wants it to happen. The ruling party may not allow this to happen.
There is also another question being asked by many for which he owes a suitable reply. Why did he not held the local body elections in 2018, when the TDP was in power? What prevented him from holding elections then and what prompted him to insist on his will – the constitutional authority that he claims – to prevail? Did he not have the same constitutional authority in 2018?