Andhra gram panchayat polls will be held as scheduled: State election commission
The Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission on Saturday issued the notification for conducting of elections to gram panchayats in the State.
State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar said: "The Commission has full belief, confidence, and loyalty towards the judiciary. We are proceeding with election procedure as per the HC order. We will obey the Supreme Court's orders also as the SC will hear the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the state government on Monday. We also will put our version in front of the SC, if necessary."
"The elections will take place in four phases. These will be held on the 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th of the next month (February). The poll timings are extended from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm. Elections will not hamper the vaccination process".
The state government has been raising objections regarding local body elections including gram panchayat polls. The government has said that the officials would be engaged in the vaccination programme and the conduct of elections would not be possible.
The SEC said it will call on collectors, DGP, Chief Secretary, Panchayati Raj Principal secretary, and other officials today around 3 pm.
"The Commission has a shortage of funds and staff. Despite the HC order, the government did not respond to date. The Commission does not have a secretary, joint secretary, joint director and legal advisor," he said.
The state government asked to wait until the Supreme Court verdict on the SLP. But, the SEC felt it was not reasonable.
"The electoral roles have not been updated due to negligence and irresponsibility of Panchayati Raj officials. So the election will be conducted with 2019 electoral roles. However, stern action will be taken against non-cooperating officials," he told the media.
Andhra Pradesh High Court on January 21 directed the state government to hold Panchayat elections as scheduled by the SEC.
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