The Andhra Pradesh government has estimated that the elections to the local bodies (ZPTCs and MPTCs, and gram panchayats), which are in the eye of a storm due to their postponement earlier this year because of COVID-19 and the concomitant legal battle that is still raging, require a manpower of at least 8,14,560, including police personnel.
The number of polling stations required is 34,320 and 1,35,000 respectively, according to an additional counter affidavit filed in the High Court by Principal Secretary (Panchayat Raj and Rural Development) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi in the matter arising from the proposed conduct of the elections in February 2021.
The government is strongly opposing the February schedule saying that global trends indicate a likely resurgence of the virus and the danger posed by a “second wave” between December and March 2021 to the lives of the election duty staff and general public.
The government’s basic argument is that holding the elections in February, for which State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar had already issued proceedings last month, may clash with the COVID-19 vaccination drive that is said to be around the corner. The government has informed the court that it is contemplating putting in place strict COVID-19 control measures in view of the possibility of the pandemic staging a comeback. Conducting elections in February is therefore not advisable, Mr. Dwivedi said in the affidavit.