Nimmagadda readies for another clash with govt
AP State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar appears to be getting ready for yet another clash with the state government. He had issued a press note on Tuesday stating that the SEC would resume the local body elections in February 2020. He further said that he had consulted the stake holders including the state government on the covid 19 situation and expressed satisfaction over the situation coming to normalcy. He also cited the Election Commission of India holding elections in several states and thus justified his preparedness to hold the elections in the state.
Empowered by the court orders, Ramesh Kumar said that holding elections is a constitutional obligation and he wants to fulfil it. He further said that if the state has to receive the funds from the Finance Commission, holding elections is a mandatory.
Given the tone and tenor of his statement, it is clear that he is prepared to hold the elections even if the state government is not prepared. He is also legally framing the situation in favour of holding the elections giving no scope for the state government to postpone it on one pretext or the other.
Though he had postponed the elections in March 2020, when there were not many cases and elections could have been completed a couple of days after the lockdown was clamped in the fourth week of March. He did not consult the state government when he postponed the elections. He just went by the representations given by the TDP and the CPI, which accused the ruling YSR Congress of resorting to violence during the elections. He did not even consult the ruling party before taking a decision to postpone.
What happened after that is known to everyone. He dragged the State government to the court and finally returned to his seat after a costly battle. Now, having settled back in his seat, Ramesh Kumar is getting ready for another round of battle.
He held a meeting with the representatives of the political parties and later the health secretary of the state and the chief secretary of the state. He also sought directions from the High Court to hold the elections. Having completed all these required formalities, Ramesh Kumar had, in the statement, made his mind clear, to the ruling party, that he would be holding the elections.
He justifies his decision as constitutional obligation to mount pressure on the state government. But one wonders what happened to this constitutional obligation in 2018 when the TDP government did not hold the elections! Since he appears to be firm on holding the elections, it is to be seen how the state government would make its move to see that his will is not prevailed.