Three mistakes that Nimmagadda committed
Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, a retired IAS officer and former AP State Election Commissioner, is now hot news in the Telugu States. He had picked up a war, not controversy, with the state government and had even levelled factionist allegations against chief minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. He, like a political opponent, unwarrantedly saw factionist behaviour in chief minister.
He landed himself in the political cesspool by meeting two BJP leaders, both of them known for their political lobbying expertise. He went to the hotel all the way and met them for more than an hour. While it is not known what prompted him to meet these leaders, what was the discussion point and who else was there in the hotel room, his very presence with these politicians eroded his image in the public and he had lost peoples’ support whatever he is having.
He committed three mistakes during his tenure as APSEC, which landed him in direct fight with the government and landed him in trouble or a political battle that would be part of the AP electoral history. He would be remembered as an election commissioner whose acts landed him in political battle against the ruling party.
Unlike the Election Commission of India, the state election commission works in consultation with the State government. Ramesh Kumar forgot or conveniently ignored this fact. The SEC is not autonomous as he claims. If the SEC were to be autonomous as Nimmagadda claims, he should have questioned the TDP government for not holding the local body elections as per schedule in 2018. When the autonomy was not there in the TDP government, the same cannot be claimed in the YSR Congress government.
Forgetting the fact that he did not question the TDP government for not holding the elections on time, the mistake he did was postponing the elections without consulting the state government. He did not even take a report from the state health department on Covid 19 and thus the decision was unilateral. He did not care to consult the YSR Congress, while taking the decision considering exclusively the reports of the TDP and the CPI.
The second mistake that he committed was in writing to the Union Home Ministry making personal allegations and hard hitting criticism against chief minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. If the criticism of Jaganmohan Reddy is taken as provocation for Ramesh Kumar to retaliate in the same tenor and tone, a politician is accepted by the people to make such wild allegations and not a bureaucrat or a former bureaucrat unless he or she is a political activist.
The third mistake is reinstating himself as the election commissioner without waiting for the government to act as per the High Court direction. He further committed mistake by meeting BJP leaders in a hotel in Hyderabad to lobby against the state government. Thus he lost his ground among the people.