Withholding unanimous elections unlawful, unpardonable, says Minister

Panchayat Raj Minister Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy on Friday termed the order of State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar withholding the declaration of unanimous elections in various panchayats as โ€œunlawful and unpardonable.โ€

Addressing the media in Tirupati, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy said the order pertaining to Chittoor and Guntur districts exposed Mr. Ramesh Kumarโ€™s vested interests.

โ€œMr. Ramesh Kumar has been taking unlawful decisions every day in order to serve the interests of the TDP. He has been implementing the directives of TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu and blackmailing the government,โ€ the Minister alleged.

Contending that the SEC had no power to withhold the declaration of unanimously elected panchayats, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy appealed to the returning officers to ignore the SEC order and issue the declaration forms to the victorious candidates.

Warning to officials

โ€œThe officials who try to favour the State Election Commission will be taken to task and will be blacklisted,โ€ the Minister warned.

Stating that unanimous elections were common in a democracy, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy accused Mr. Ramesh Kumar of trying to tighten his grip over the District Collectors and the official machinery.

Referring to the Ministersโ€™ complaint to the Assembly Committee of Privileges against Mr. Ramesh Kumar, he said action would be taken against the SEC by the committee.

โ€œThe SEC will have to stand before the committee. He will be made answerable for his actions,โ€ Mr Ramachandra Reddy said.

Had any other official been the SEC, he would have resigned following the High Court raising objections on the e-Watch app.

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