AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh Government on Tuesday filed a petition in the High Court stating that it cannot conduct of the Local Body Elections in February, citing COVID-19 situation in the State. It appealed to Court to direct the State Election Commission (SEC) to stop the process of conducting the elections to the local bodies immediately.
The State Government in its plea stated that it was not possible to conduct the elections in February and that the State Elections Commission's decision of conducting polls was against the Supreme Court orders which states that the primary responsibility of the Government during the pandemic was to safeguard public health.
Panchayat Raj Principal Secretary Gopalakrishna Dwivedi filed the petition on behalf of the AP Government, challenging the decision of State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar to hold the elections in February. The SEC has made a unilateral decision without consulting the State Government, he stated. The government sought the High Court to order for the halt of the Election procedures as more than 6,000 people have already died due to the COVID-19 virus since the pandemic started in the State.
The State Government also expressed its objections over the State Election Commission's action of postponing the elections in the past citing Coronavirus as the reason and is now seeking to conduct the re-election now when the situation has turned from worse to bad, it stated in its petition.
The elections to municipalities, municipal corporations and gram panchyats was supposed to be held on March 23 buthad to be stallled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney had also responded to the SEC's decision about the conduct of the polls and said that this was not the opportune time to hold elections considering the COVID-19 situation in the State. In a letter to the SEC she said that, "It is not right to hold the elections in February in view of the health and safety of the people of the state,'' Nilam Sawhney opined. She urged the SEC to reconsider its decision on the conduct of the election.