Several Andhra Pradesh State government employees associations representatives are expressing concern over the Election Notification issued by the State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar and have threatened to boycott the Panchayat elections duties and if needed would also call for a state-wide strike.
Speaking to the media on Saturday, several leaders of various government and teacher unions, including the AP NGO Association and the AP Government Employees Union have said that, conducting Panchayat elections was not possible at this juncture when the threat of Coronavirus was still looming large and found fault with the SEC over the release of the notification.
Expressing angst over the Commissioner Ramesh Kumar's attitude,they said that he was playing havoc with the lives of employees. '' This is not the time for elections. It does not matter if the people and employees are killed and he wants to go ahead with the conduct of elections,'' they fired. They requested the SEC to conduct polls once the vaccination process was complete.
The union leaders warned that if their request was ignored and the SEC did not withdraw the notification, failing which they would boycott the elections or go on strike if necessary.
All employees will not participate in the election until they have been vaccinated. What is the point of the Election Commissioner acting arbitrarily and sacrificing the lives of employees for his bet? We are prepared for the elections, but before that all the employees should be vaccinated. As employees we have the right to protect our lives. It does not matter if three and a half lakh votes are lost. It is wrong on the part of the Election Commissioner to say that he will conduct the elections even if the employees and voters die. - Venkatrami Reddy, Chairman- AP Government Employees Union
'' On the one hand, the insistence of the State Election Commissioner to hold panchayat elections at the time of the start of the COVID vaccination is appalling. Elections should be postponed, if not, we will boycott the elections and calling for strike is inevitable,''. - L Jamal Reddy, Co-Chairman- State Government Employees Union
The employee drew attention to the special care Kumar took while addressing the media earlier on Saturday. He had fixed a glass partition on his table and wore a mask to protect himself from the virus.
" While addressing the media, you spoke from behind a glass, so is your life so important without caring for our lives.. Should we discharge election duties and lose our lives? The SEC has to state what protective measures have been taken to ensure the safety of lakhs of employees across one lakh 40 thousand polling stations who will participate in the election process. Why has he not held elections since 2018 when he says the conduct of elections is a constitutional necessity?
If the SEC goes ahead not paying heed to the appeal by the employees, then he would face difficulties, '' warned Bopparaju Venkateshwarlu, President, Revenue Services and Amravati Employee Union JAC Chairman.
Recognizing that the ultimate goal of any system is the welfare of the people, the Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh, should postpone the elections. Why did the Election Commissioner attend a media conference with a face shield? Is he the only one who fears the virus,aren’t the lives of employees important also? If the state of coronavirus in the State is not serious , then he should answer why he conducted the media conference with a shield to protect himself,''. - Vasa Samuel Divakar, Chairman- State Revenue JAC
Others who questioned the Commissioner Ramesh Kumar over the Local Body Elections notification were Bandi Srinivasa Rao, General Secretary -AP NGO Association, Samala Simhachalam, President of AP SC,ST Teachers Association and State MPDO leaders, Y Brahmayya, G V Narayana Reddy, D Venkat Rao, K Srinivas Reddy, K N V Prasad Rao
It may be remembered that the Local Body Elections were supposed to be held in 2018 during the TDP regime, when the tenure of the local bodies expired back, but was not conducted then.
However, when Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wanted the polls to be held in March 2020 the Commissioner refused citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason. Now when the vaccination drive has begun and the State administration is busy with the task, Ramesh Kumar on Saturday issued a notification for a four-phase Panchayat polls starting from February.