Andhra Pradesh

SEC warns against failure to exercise due diligence on unanimous elections

State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar addressing the media in Vijayawada on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

State Election Commissioner (SEC) N. Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday expressed his resolve to take appropriate action against any government functionary found to have not done due diligence on unanimous elections as there was a limit for it, and said the fear of some parties that the election process could be subverted to someone’s advantage in the guise of such elections was not misplaced.

“Unanimous elections have been a long-standing tradition, to which I am not opposed outright,” he said.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar also said he would not hesitate to approach the Supreme Court again if the spirit of its judgment was violated in any manner, irrespective of the stature of the persons who vitiated the elections.

‘Minister’s comments unfortunate’

Addressing the media here, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said it was unfortunate that a Minister attributed motives to his action of censuring Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi and Commissioner M. Girija Shankar in spite of the scathing comments made by the apex court on the public abuse of the commission.

Such unwarranted statements by those in power were against the spirit of the judgment of the Supreme Court and the spirit of the Constitution and the Code of Conduct as well, he said.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar pointed out that as the SEC, he ought to fulfil his accountability to the people, and asserted that he would not fail in his duty to uphold the Constitution as a public servant.

Mr. Ramesh Kumar said a final decision had not yet been taken on the complaints of intimidation of candidates in the run-up to filing of nominations for the ZPTC and MPTC elections.

He insisted that the Collectors and Superintendents of Police were duty-bound to ensure that the elections were not marred by blackmailing and attacks on contestants. “If such incidents happen, the commission will not keep quiet,” he warned.

Explanation sought on ads

Referring to advertisements of incentives the government announced for the Gram Panchayats going for unanimous elections, Mr. Ramesh Kumar said he sought an explanation from the Information & Public Relations Department, which released the ads that were in blatant violation of the Code of Conduct due to their likely impact on the outcome of the elections.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 7:19:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/sec-warns-against-failure-to-exercise-due-diligence-on-unanimous-elections/article33679364.ece

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