Andhra Pradesh

Assembly resolves against holding local body elections in February

The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly has adopted a resolution stating that the situation is not conducive for conducting the local body elections in February 2021 as has been decided by the State Election Commission (SEC) and that suitable legal provisions be incorporated in the AP Panchayat Raj Act, 1994.

In the resolution, which was moved on Friday by Health Minister Alla Kali Krishna Srinivas towards the end of a discussion on ‘Aarogyasri - containing coronavirus’ and endorsed by Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy, it was mentioned that the government communicated to the SEC that it would be imprudent to schedule any election at a time when COVID-19 was in a resurgent mode and that the State was obligated to ensure the health of its citizens and not initiate any activity that would jeopardise their lives and health.

The government observed that it should not be seen as a competitor to the functioning of the SEC, especially when it was their joint responsibility to conduct the elections.

It contended that the SEC’s notification was in disregard of the prevailing situation and would have a deleterious effect on the conduct of the elections, the turnout of voters and endanger the health of people at large.

The government pointed out that in Telangana, Section197 (6) of the Panchayat Raj Act mandates that the local body election schedule should be decided by the SEC in concurrence with the State government, but the AP PR Act did not have such a provision, the resolution observed.

‘SEC’s unilateralism’

The unilateralism of the SEC in Andhra Pradesh had been noticed even by the Supreme Court, which directed that further decisions, after the initial postponement of elections, be taken in consultation with the State.

The perfunctory manner in which the SEC brushed aside the concerns raised by the government was not in spirit with the Constitution and the statutes, the resolution said.

“The concern for public health cannot be a subject matter of competitive assessment and the State’s bona fide opinion on such matters cannot be ignored,’ it asserted.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 5:37:19 PM |

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