AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy lashed out at the State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar for rescheduling local bodies elections for six weeks and issuing orders to district collectors to stop distribution of house sites to poor.
Addressing the media at the CM Camp Office in Tadepalli after meeting Governor Biswabusan Harichandan on Sunday, the Chief Minister first addressed the fears of the people about the growing coronovirus epidemic. He said that there was no need for the people of the State to press the panic button about the spread of the Novel Coronavirus and that the State Government had taken measures to curtail the virus and adequate screening measures, hospital facilities and awareness programs were taken through the support of the Village Volunteers to handle the growing spread of the COVID-19 virus.He said that only one case in Andhra Pradesh was tested as positive.
Not mincing words further, the Chief Minister expressed his displeasure against Election Commissioner Ramesh Kumar for taking the decision of postponing the elections udner the garb of coronovirus threat,without consulting either the State Health Secretary or the State Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney.Why werent they informed if it was a health threat , he asked. YS Jagan said that he couldn't understand the behaviour of the TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu. He alleged that Ramesh Kumar was Chandrababu's man and belonged to the same community and was acting in his favour. The surprising fact was that he took this decision under the garb of cornovirus threat and in interest of public health , he said.
Another issue he brought to the fore was that in the same press meet he spoke about transferring and suspending govt officials, collectors and police officials for dereliction of duty calling it as taken under discretionary powers. Who gave his such rights to take such arbitrary decisions, he asked. that if required they would complain against the State Election Commissioner "further up" and seek necessary action "if there is no change in him." The Chief Minister also found fault with the SEC decision to order transfer of Collectors of Chittoor and Guntur districts and SPs of Tirupati Urban and Guntur Rural."What authority does the SEC have to order these transfers? Why should we have an elected government and the Chief Minister? Let the SEC run the government," Jagan said angrily.
YS Jagan said that even a secretary in the Election Commission Office was not aware of such decision, so you can imagine under what state of secrecy this decision was taken, he derided. The notice is four pages long and we don't know who is behind the order. He scoffed at the statement of the EC that it was taken under discretionary powers which is being grossly misused.
He also brought to fore the orders issued the day before to suspend the housing site distribution programme temporarily until the conclusion of the polls. First he issues this order on 14th of March and and then postpones the elections the very next day, he said. There is a thin line between what happened yesterday and today with the YSRCP clearly winning the local body elections with a majority. We have to move forward if we need the state to develop and if the elections are delayed, the funds from the centre will be further delayed.
YS Jagan spoke about the few untoward incidents that occurred at the nominations time. He said that out of the 1043 places only in 14 places were incidents of violence reported, which was very minnimal.Was it the YSRCP that won the 151 seats or the Election commission that won the General Elections, he asked.
YS Jagan said that a complaint to the Governor has been submitted and if need be we will consider stringent legal action against such arbitrary behaviour by the Election Commissioner. We have asked him to speak to the Election Commissioner and if he still doesn’t listen we will take it up at a higher level, he said. Present in the meeting were State Advocate General Sriram Subramaniam, State Health Secretary, Chief Secretary Nilam Sawheny and other state officials.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy earlier met Governor Biswabusan Harichandan at his residence on Sunday. They spent more than an hour discussion various issues related to the coronavirus epidemic, the measures taken by the government to contain the COVID 19 virus , and the postponement of the local body elections due to this.
Within hours after State Election Commissioner (SEC) N. Ramesh Kumar postponed the local body polls by six weeks, Jagan Mohan Reddy called on Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan and complained to him against the unilateral action of the official.
The Chief Minister had earlier conducted a review meeting on the coronovirus situation in the State at the CM camp office in Tadepalli on Sunday. The local body elections has been postponed by six weeks in AP in the wake of the centre declaring coronavirus as a national disaster. State Elections Commissioner Ramesh Kumar made the announced on Sunday morning, and based on this announcement the Chief Minister conducted a quick review meeting with officials to discuss further course of action after which he went to meet the Governor and addressed the media calling the decison as discrimantory.