Hyderabad: The all-party meeting called by the State Election Commission (SEC) saw an ugly spat between Congress leaders and State Election Commissioner V. Nagi Reddy.
Also, Dalit Bahujan Party president V. Krishna Swaroop was forced out of the room by policemen, reportedly on the orders of Mr Nagi Reddy. Mr Swaroop later filed a complaint with the Nampally police against Mr Nagi Reddy.
The meeting was meant for the SEC to consult with the political parties for their views on the upcoming municipal polls.
The Congress leaders, including Marri Shashidhar Reddy, party spokesperson G. Niranjan and MLA T. Jayaprakash ‘Jagga’ Reddy, accused Mr Nagi Reddy of colluding with the state government. They asked why the reservations for wards had not been announced, when nominations will be accepted from January 8. Except for the TRS and MIM, other parties reportedly voiced their objections against the SEC. Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Mr Shashidhar Reddy said, “The commissioner looked very restless. He did not have any patience.” He said the Congress delegation raised valid points about the election process.
“We only asked them why the reservation details have not been published yet. In fact, we have no official information of when these details will be announced. We learnt from press reports that it will happen on January 6, just a couple of days before nominations will be allowed. How is this feasible,” Mr Shashidhar Reddy asked.
He said the TRS government had enough information and could mobilise its political machinery before the polls but Opposition parties were left at a disadvantage. The Congress leaders also asked why elections would be conducted just before Sankranti, when many residents settled in the state might travel to their hometowns in Andhra Pradesh. The leaders were reportedly upset with Mr Nagi Reddy’s responses and walked out of the meeting.
Dalit Bahujan Party president Krishna Swaroop said he had the same concerns about the election process but Mr Nagi Reddy was dismissive of him.
“I asked him about the delay in announcing reservation details when he said the High Court had directed the SEC to conduct the polls soon. I retorted that the High Court couldn’t have asked them to forget reservations while doing so. He seems to have been offended by this and ordered a policemen to take me out. He referred to me as ‘veedu’,” he said. Mr Swaroop said he was very upset by the way he was treated.
“I did nothing wrong. If we can’t speak to government officials in a meeting conducted for that very purpose, how can we?” he asked. Within the hour of this incident, Mr Swaroop lodged a complaint at the Nampally police station against Mr Nagi Reddy. In his complaint, Mr Swaroop claimed that he was anguished by the way he his microphone was switched off and how he was ejected by attendants and a gunman. Nampally station house officer Md Khaleel Pasha acknowledged that they had received the complaint.
“From what we have learnt so far, Mr Nagi Reddy seems to have been interrupted by Mr Swaroop while making his closing remarks. Since the meeting was recorded, we will have the video evidence. Once we verify it, we will decide what to do next,” he said.