Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], January 23 (ANI): Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) spokesperson and MLA Ambati Rambabu on Saturday said that the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar's decision to release a notification for gram panchayat elections despite the state government's special leave petition (SLP) pending in Supreme Court is a symbol of injustice, irregularity and undemocratic in nature.
"SEC Kumar has released the notification for gram panchayat elections today. He briefed the media in this regard. Instead of speaking on the notification, it seems he spoke like a politician," Rambabu told reporters here.
"The state government and YSRCP are against the conduct of panchayat elections now, keeping public safety and health in mind, in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Everybody knows it. The SEC's decision is a symbol of injustice, irregularity and undemocratic in nature," Rambabu told reporters here.
Highlighting that the matter is still pending in the Supreme Court, he said: "The top court of the country to hear the SLP of Andhra Pradesh government on Monday. Why the SEC is not able to restrain for at least two days."
Rambabu further questioned that why did SEC Kumar not hold the elections since 2018, the date from which these elections are due.
"SEC said that he is dutybound to conduct elections in time. In fact, these elections are due since 2018. Why did Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar not conduct elections since then till date? Why he failed in conducting elections then?" the YSRCP leader questioned.
"Chandrababu Naidu was in power then and conducting panchayat elections then would be adverse to Telugu Desam Party (TDP). That is why Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar did not conduct elections," he said.
"Now SEC is holding a legal battle with the government to conduct the elections. Why did he not show that spirit in 2018 and not conduct elections in all these three years?" he further asked.
He further asked who will be held responsible in case an employee is affected with COVID-19 or dies.
"Ramesh Kumar held his press briefing from behind a closed glass shield. He is taking care of his health. But why he is ignoring the health of employees who have to conduct the elections?" Rambabu asked.
"Ramesh referred that many elections are conducted despite COVID-19. But then the vaccination process was not going on. After the start of vaccination, no election should be conducted in that period," he further mentioned.
The YSRCP leader asserted that as a party, YSRCP is not afraid of elections but concerned about public health.
"TDP Chief Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh are demanding for the conduct of elections. They sit in Hyderabad, keep speaking through Zoom, and shouting for elections," Rambabu said.
"Ramesh said he will keep a special focus on areas where elections become unanimous. He says he will place an Inspector General of Police (IGP) to monitor the elections. What is wrong if elections become unanimous?" asked the YSRCP leader.
Rambabu further said, "The SEC wants to conduct before his tenure completes by the end of March. He may not be there as SEC chair, but the institution will be there."
"SEC is going ahead to conduct elections despite the government's appeal of revising the schedule. At the same time, he is throwing the onus on the government if any problems arise in conducting the elections. How illogical it is," he remarked.
Rambabu also accused Ramesh Kumar of parroting the words of Chandrababu Naidu.
"Ramesh Kumar is not listening to the words of the government even though the Andhra Pradesh High Court had ordered to go in a coordinated manner. He is compelling the government to play to his whims and fancies," he said.
"Let us see what the Supreme Court gives a verdict. Everybody has to abide by the top court," he added.
The Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission on Saturday issued the notification for conducting elections to gram panchayats in the State.
SEC Kumar had said: "The Commission has full belief, confidence, and loyalty towards the judiciary. We are proceeding with election procedure as per the HC order. We will obey the Supreme Court's orders also as the SC will hear the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the state government on Monday. We also will put our version in front of the SC, if necessary."
"The elections will take place in four phases. These will be held on the 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th of the next month (February). The poll timings are extended from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm. Elections will not hamper the vaccination process," he informed. (ANI)