As the country heads for polls in a few weeks from now, voters in Andhra Pradesh have their hands full as the state needs to elect representatives from the local body to the parliamentary level even as its bifurcation remains a mere formality.
Along with Lok Sabha polls, Legislative Assembly elections would be held simultaneously in Andhra Pradesh on April 30 and May 7. But that is not all, ahead of Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, elections to 146 municipalities and 10 municipal corporations across undivided Andhra Pradesh would take place on March 30. And if that was not enough, SEC is now gearing up to conduct polls to elect Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTCs) and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTCs) after a Supreme Court order.
The appointed day for the coming into existence of the new state of Telangana is June 2. The Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) is of the opinion that the notification for general elections would not have any impact on municipal polls since SEC is an autonomous and constitutional body. The announcement for municipal polls was largely unwelcome for political parties in Andhra Pradesh since that puts an additional burden on them ahead of the general and Assembly elections. Parties fear that a poor performance in the civic body polls would cast a shadow on their prospects for the general elections.
SEC has issued separate instructions for District Panchayat Officers, Mandal Parishad Development Officers and CEOs of Zilla Parishads to prepare electoral rolls as per gram panchayats, MPTCs and ZPTCs, respectively, and display them at their offices. SEC is expected to announce the schedule for Panchayat Raj polls tomorrow. Back-to-back elections would put enormous pressure on the government machinery, including police, which has to be bifurcated expeditiously before June 2.
Year-end examinations for various courses, held in the months of March, April and May, would mean a bigger task for the education and other departments involved in the process. Hitting out at the ruling Congress for failing to conduct local body polls on time, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu has claimed that that was the reason why the state was now facing the peculiar situation of polls in quick succession. "They (Congress) are in power for the last nine-and-a-half years, but they could not hold municipal elections in time. "That's why you have a peculiar situation where you have three elections (Lok Sabha, Assembly and municipal polls)," the BJP leader had said here on March 4.