Taking a cue from the elections conducted in various States during the pandemic, the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission (AP SEC) has decided to conduct the grama panchayat elections in February 2021.
State Election Commissioner (SEC) N. Ramesh Kumar has said in a release that the actual schedule will be finalised in consultation with State government. The notification and schedule will be notified thereafter.
“The commission, after due consultation with all the stakeholders, including the State government, and considering the successful conduct of the elections in several parts of the country, has taken a well-considered decision in principle to hold elections in February tentatively,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar said.
‘COVID cases decline’
“There are no legal hurdles for the grama panchayat elections as they are conducted on non-party basis. The commission is encouraged by the success in the COVID-19 containment measures taken by the State, where the daily infections have come down to as low as 753 from a peak of 10,000. All the safeguards will be put in place, duly considering the best practices, including those being taken by the neighbouring Telangana for the GHMC elections,” he said.
“The model code of conduct will not be in force as it is only an in-principle decision. The actual schedule will be finalised in consultation with the government. Once the schedule is drawn up, the code of conduct will come into force,” Mr. Ramesh Kumar said.
The commission had also taken note of the fact that conducting elections was not only a constitutional obligation but also a prerequisite for the release of the Finance Commission funds, he said.
“The commission has addressed all the concerns, especially those expressed by the government and the Health Department, and will leave no stone unturned on the safety front,” he added.