Poll code relaxed in 4 districts of Andhra, EC allows Naidu to hold meetings
In a communication to the state government, the EC said the restrictions imposed under the model code of conduct would be lifted with regard to Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam, “in order to facilitate speedy rescue, relief and restoration activities.”Updated: May 03, 2019, 18:15 IST
The Election Commission of India on Friday relaxed the model code of conduct for four districts of Andhra Pradesh affected by Cyclone Fani and granted permission to Telugu Desam Party president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to oversee the relief and rehabilitation measures.
In a communication to the state government, the EC said the restrictions imposed under the model code of conduct would be lifted with regard to Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam, “in order to facilitate speedy rescue, relief and restoration activities.”
The communique said: “The Commission has considered the matter and approved the proposal of granting relaxation in the provisions of MCC for all preventive and relief work associated with the cyclone in the above-mentioned districts.”
Telugu Desam Party leader and Andhra Pradesh agriculture minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy also got an opportunity to play the role of a minister for one day.
The EC directions came following a letter from the chief minister on Wednesday requesting that the model code of conduct be relaxed in the state to enable him to take stock of the relief and rehabilitation measures in the areas likely to be hit by the cyclone.
Meanwhile, state chief electoral officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi also gave conditional permission to state agriculture minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy to conduct a review meeting with officials at his chamber in the Secretariat in the evening on the impact of the cyclone, drought situation in the state and other issues.
However, the CEO directed that the officials should not talk to the media about the outcome of the meeting and also not release the visuals of the meeting to the media.
The TDP government has been in confrontation with the poll body ever since the schedule for general elections in the state was announced. Naidu strongly resisted the EC’s decision to transfer the state chief secretary, intelligence chief, three superintendents of police and several lower-rung police officials when the electioneering was on.
He even described the Election Commission as the “most useless institution” and “a branch office of the Bharatiya Janata Party.”
Even after the polling was completed on April 11, the EC continued to impose curbs on the chief minister and prohibited him from conducting official meetings to review the progress of various developmental work and welfare schemes. He was served with notices for holding meetings on the Polavaram major irrigation project and construction of capital Amaravati.
Much to his chagrin, the EC also barred newly-appointed additional director general of police (intelligence) Kumar Vishawajeet from reporting to the chief minister. This angered Naidu who threatened to take legal recourse against the poll body.
He wrote a strongly worded letter to the EC last week seeking to know whether the EC would prevent National Security Advisor and Intelligence Bureau chief from meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also impose restrictions on the Prime Minister from conducting review meetings. He sought to know why the EC was not asking the other chief ministers like K Chandrasekhar Rao of Telangana not to conduct official meetings.
Following the latest orders of relaxing the poll code in the four districts, Naidu said he would personally visit the cyclone-affected places and monitor the developmental work.