Vijayawada: N. Ramesh Kumar, who was recently reinstated as State Election Commissioner by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, has sparked off another controversy by his meeting with former Union minister Y.S. Chowdary and former minister Kamineni Srinivas in a hotel in Hyderabad.
The visuals of the meeting, which took place on June 13, went viral on Tuesday. The ruling YSR Congress immediately reiterated its allegation that Mr Kumar was politically biased in favour of the Opposition Telugu Desam and was hatching a conspiracy against the state government.
Both Chowdary and Srinivas are known to be close to Telugu Desam supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu and Srinivas is one of the petitioners in the High Court who challenged the removal of Kumar as SEC.
The CCTV footage of the hotel showed the three coming to the hotel separately but entering a room where they spent more than an hour. The ruling YSR Congress suspects that they held a video conference with a legal expert in New Delhi and Naidu, to discuss the strategy to be adopted in view of the state government refusing to recognise Kumar’s reinstatement and a related case coming up in the High Court.
Kumar had earned the ire of the state government for unilaterally postponing the local body elections as SEC and sending in a mysterious way a letter to the Union home ministry casting severe aspersions on Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. These developments finally led to his removal as SEC. When this was challenged, the High Court struck it down and a special leave petition filed by the state government is pending before the Supreme Court.
“It is unbecoming on the part of Kumar who is holding a Constitutional post, to hold private meetings with political leaders that too when his conduct and credentials are being debated. He has lost moral authority to stake claims as SEC,” YSRC’s Ambati Rambabu told media persons.
YSR Congress MP V Vijayasai Reddy, posted a tweet alleging that the trio had a video conference with a “Big Boss” and details would come out soon.
Ruling party members have alleged that the TD chief had been using the SEC to plot against the government. “The post of SEC should have a better person to act unbiasedly and that is why we have appointed a former judge. People are watching the political conspiracy plotted by Naidu against the government and soon everything will be revealed,” one of them said.
Responding to the allegations, Chowdary (now with the BJP) claimed that Kumar is an old family friend. Since he was running his office from a hotel in view of the Corona lockdown, Kumar came to meet him there, he said, adding that no political interaction took place between them.
Kumar is said to have told his friends that he went to the hotel to discuss development works in his native village of Duggirala which Chowdary’s Sujana Foundation has been funding for a long time. “What is there for us to discuss when the High Court has already given its verdict and the Supreme Court has not stayed the High Court order?” Kumar is said to have commented.