We Will Boycott Panchayat Polls: AP Employees

With State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar failing to yield to the YCP government’s appeal to wait till the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the SPL filed by it challenging the High Court order, and releasing the notification for the first phase of panchayat polls, the non-gazetted officers in the state declared that they would boycott the election process, if necessary.

This situation clearly reflects the war between Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar.

AP NGO president Chandrasekhar Reddy lamented that the SEC did not take their appeal to defer the elections till the vaccination was over. He reminded that they had requested him to put off the panchayat polls for 2-3 months till the vaccination was completed as they fear the spread of Covid-19, as many of their colleagues fell victims to the pandemic.

He said that the SEC should understand that it was not general elections but just local body elections which can be postponed. The panchayat polls had been postponed for the last two-and-a-half years. Can’t he wait for a few more months? Are you trying to kill us in the name of elections while we have not yet received the jab, he asked.

Further, he pointed out that Nimmagadda addressed the press meet sitting behind a glass pane. Should we also conduct the elections hiding in our houses, he questioned. How can we conduct the elections? A few of us will have to get involved directly and other indirectly in the election procedure, he reminded.

He said that Nimmagadda was trying to threaten the employees saying severe action would be initiated against them. But we are not going to yield, he asserted.

When asked if the employees would ignore the High Court ruling that vaccination and elections should be conducted simultaneously, Chandrasekhar Reddy said that the High Court did not tell the Election Commission to hold the elections putting the life of the employees at risk. “Even Chief Secretary Adityanath Das told the SEC that it would be better if the panchayat elections could be held after the vaccination as the employees were not ready to move freely in the wake of Covid-19. However, Nimmagadda remained adamant and went ahead with the release of notification,” he said.

Replying to a query on why the employees participated in the implementation of several programmes like distribution of house site pattas which could be done even after two years but were hesitating to come forward to hold the elections, the employees’ leader said that their counterparts in Kerala and Telangana warned them not to take part in the poll process as they would contract Covid-19 during that time.

In the wake of such a situation, Chandrasekhar Reddy made it clear that they would not take part in the election process but boycott it to save their lives.

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