Andhra Pradesh

Forcible unanimous elections unacceptable, asserts SEC

State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar addressing the media in Anantapur on Friday.   | Photo Credit: R.V.S. PRASAD

A mobile app that will have the capability to upload voice, video, and text messages and a call centre will be launched by the State Election Commission (SEC) for receiving complaints from the people about the panchayat elections, State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar has said.

Addressing the media here on Friday after holding a review meeting with the district revenue and police officials, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said political parties had represented to Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan apprehending “forcible unanimous decisions” in the gram panchayat elections.

“As the State Election Commissioner, I assure you that there will not be any forced unanimous decisions. The revenue and police officials have been asked to constitute shadow teams in the villages to get feedback on engineered, forcible, or rigged unanimous elections, and such ones need to be stopped and those responsible for them need to be grounded,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar said. A level-playing field would be ensured, he said.

“The viewpoint that gram panchayats will flourish only if unanimous decisions emerge is wrong. Creating an atmosphere where a certain percentage of gram panchayats must give unanimous decision is not acceptable, and they will not lose anything even if elections are held,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar observed.

In a democracy, there could be four divergent viewpoints, but we need to honour each and every one of them, he opined.

App to be ready by third phase

An agency had come forward to develop the app, which would display a dashboard of the panchayat elections providing all information needed, and this was an effort to make the elections free, fair, and transparent, the SEC said.

“All complaints received from any source, including the app, will be taken into consideration and resolved as early as possible,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar said.

“The app is still in the evolving stage. It may be fully functional by the time nominations for the third phase begin,” he added.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar further said that all COVID-19 protocols should be adhered to during the elections.

“The polling time has been extended from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. earlier to 6.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. so that bunching of voters does not happen. Even COVID-19 positive persons can exercise their franchhise by wearing PPE kits,” he said.

Anantapur Range DIG Kanti Rana Tata, District Collector Gandham Chandrudu, Superintendent of Police B. Satya Yesu Babu, and Joint Collectors Nishant Kumar and A. Siri were present.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 1:09:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/forcible-unanimous-elections-unacceptable-asserts-sec/article33699940.ece

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