‘Revert to ballots’: Chandrababu Naidu to EC two days after Andhra polls
Two days after Andhra Pradesh voted to elect its new assembly, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday met the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora with a letter complaining that the poll body “miserably failed to live up to the spirit of the constitutional duty” in the state.
He demanded that the Election Commission should revert to the system of recording votes through ballot papers and stop the use of electronic voting machines in polls. He said there are doubts regarding reliability of the EVMs.
“We demand the Election Commission of India for reverting to paper ballot system immediately to preserve the sanctity and protect the spirit of electoral process and democracy respectively,” said Naidu emerging from the poll body’s office in New Delhi.
Naidu cited poll violence leading to the death of a Telugu Desam Party worker in Andhra Pradesh in clashes with the supporters of the YSR Congress headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. During the election campaign, the YSR Congress emerged as a strong contender to power in Andhra Pradesh, where Naidu’s TDP has been in power since 2014.
Andhra Pradesh voted for all 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats on April 11 in the first phase of the parliamentary elections. The polls were marred by the malfunctioning of EVMs at various places in Andhra Pradesh prompting Naidu to lash out at the Election Commission for “turning the elections into a big farce”.
In his letter to the CEC, Naidu said, “…the inept handling of the Election Commission forced the voters to return home, depriving them of the right to exercise their franchise…the Election Commission, instead of focusing on its prime duty of election conduction process, tried to be hyperactive in transferring the administrative officers on the frivolous complaints of the YSR Congress Party and paralyzed the machinery.”
Naidu questioned the credibility of the poll body saying, “The Election Commission is an autonomous body. At the same time, it is working on instructions of PM Modi and the government of India...The Election Commission is not cooperating with us.”
In his letter, the TDP chief has alleged that the poll body favoured the YSR Congress by appointing “an officer, who was co-accused in one of the criminal cases” filed against YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy. He claimed that the poll body acted unilaterally on the complaints by the YSR Congress while did not pay attention to the complaints lodged by the TDP.