Hyderabad: Whether it is happening by design or default, but the 13 police observers — senior IPS officers deployed across Andhra Pradesh by the Election Commission — have received hardly any complaints pertaining to policing or law and order issues during the 15 days of their deployment, something which is being described as “peculiar”.
Many are linking it with the ongoing ‘war’ between the Centre and the Chandrababu Naidu-led government, alleging that the state administration was ensuring that the observers do not have much role to play, with the government suspecting every move of the EC.
On the other hand, the YSRC has been accusing the police top brass of being partisan which led the EC to remove the DG Intelligence and two SP rank officers. Later, the chief secretary too was removed.
‘’With two more days to go for the polls, we are expecting to get some work. Otherwise, in the last 15 days we hardly got any work,” an observer told this newspaper with a smile.
“No one approached me with any complaint,” said a senior IPS officer, who has been given charge of two Parliamentary constituencies in AP. With no work, this observer, sources said, is making the most of his first visit to the state by going sight-seeing.
A police observer, assigned to a key constituency, said he got one complaint so far and very few telephone calls. “The local administration, the superintendent of police and district collector are handling all complaints. Looks like people have a lot of faith in the local administration,” he remarked.
A police observer, posted in Rayalaseema said he received one complaint while another IPS officer incharge of a neighbouring constituency received his first complaint only on Sunday. “Besides, I got about 10 emails. The district administration is doing its job,” he said.
The TD had written to the EC raising objections to the very appointment of retired IPS officer and former Director General of BSF K.K. Sharma as the central police observer (CPO) for AP, saying he had questionable credentials as he had affiliations with the RSS.
Sources in the know of the developments say that the state administration has been “advised” to keep the EC appointed observers at bay. “This is the line the Chief Minister has taken and, therefore, there are many officers who are toeing the line,” they said adding that structured coordination was lacking between the EC observers and the state administration.
AP chief electoral officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi had suggested that the people coming from long distances can approach observers in their districts, in addition to the district collectors and SPs.
Apart from 13 police observers, there are 102 expenditure observers and 75 general observers. Of them, police observers are tasked with all issues pertaining to law and order, deployment of local police and central para-military forces and keeping a tab on the response of the police machinery and related issues....