Nation Politics 09 Jan 2021 Andhra Pradesh SEC a ...

Andhra Pradesh SEC announces gram panchayat polls from Feb. 5 to 17 in four phases

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Jan 9, 2021, 2:06 am IST
Updated Jan 9, 2021, 12:22 pm IST
Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar. — DC Image
 Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar. — DC Image

Vijayawada: State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar on Friday said that the gram panchayat polls would be held in four phases from February 5 to 17. Voting will be from 6.30 am to 3.30 pm. Counting of votes will also be done over four phases. The government has said that the the government will be busy with the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

As per the schedule, the SEC will issue the election notification on January 23 for Phase-I, January 27 for Phase-II, January 31 for Phase-III and February 4 for Phase-IV. The last date for nominations is January 27, 31, February 4 and 8 respectively. Polling where necessary will be held on February 5, 9, 13 and 17. Counting of votes and declaration of results are scheduled for Feb. 5, 9, 13 and 17 from 4 pm. The election of upa sarpanch after declaration of results to be held on February 5, 9, 13 and 17. 

While issuing the schedule here on Friday, the SEC said that it had intended to hold the elections in the second or third week of February but that would extend election process into March. Ramesh Kumar said that the State Election Commission has advanced the schedule which will commence on January 23 and will conclude on February 17.

The SEC has opted for the four-stage gram panchayat elections keeping in view the Covid safety protocols, he said. The SEC expressed its fullest confidence in the state government machinery to help it conduct polls. 

On the other hand, Chief Secretary Aditya Nath Das, principal secretary, health, Anil Kumar Singhal and principal secretary, panchayat raj, Gopala Krishna Dwivedi met Ramesh Kumar and explained the importance of taking up Covid-19 vaccination programme to save the lives of the people and asked him to defer the polls until the completion of the first phase of vaccination programme. 

The government is of the opinion that the SEC took a unilateral decision to defer the polls earlier when only one case of Covid-19 was registered on March 15, 2020, without consulting the state government. When the state government moved the SC on the issue, the apex court directed the SEC to resume the election process only after consulting the state government. 

Though the state government informed the SEC that the government machinery was engaged in getting ready to take up Covid-19 vaccination programme and the Union health secretary is supposed to hold a video conference on January 11 on vaccination and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will give suggestions on the vaccination programme through video conference to the states on January 13, the SEC was going ahead with conduct of polls reportedly as per its per-determined plan without contemplating on vaccination programme to save the lives of the people. 

 

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