Nation Politics 14 Apr 2019 Andhra Pradesh: Ruli ...

Andhra Pradesh: Ruling party continues to cry over EVMs, YSRC silent

Published Apr 14, 2019, 1:02 am IST
Updated Apr 14, 2019, 7:26 am IST
Unlike YSR, Naidu clashed with poll panel over transfer of officials.
Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu leaves after meeting with Election Commission of India in New Delhi on Saturday.  (PTI)
 Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu leaves after meeting with Election Commission of India in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI)

Hyderabad: The post-poll scenario in Andhra Pradesh is rather peculiar. Usually, after any election, it is the opposition parties that raise a hue and cry against the ruling party and the state government over some issue regarding the election. But in AP right now, exactly the opposite is happening: the main opposition party is silent and it’s the ruling Telugu Desam (TD) and its chief, N Chandrababu Naidu, who are cribbing.

After polling in the state two days ago, Mr Naidu said at a media conference that the TD will win 130 assembly seats out of the total 175. Despite this confident assertion, he is making electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the Election Commission an issue.


If the CM is confident of winning 130 assembly seats, why is he making this an issue, and what does it indicate?

Perhaps Mr Naidu has information that the TD’s prospects are not so bright. In the 2014 Assembly elections, too, voting was done using EVMs, but as an opposition leader at that time, Mr Naidu had raised no objections, and won.

True, that the Central government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party has done much to create problems for Mr Naidu and his party. But with the state’s administration and governance completely in his hands, Mr Naidu could surely manage that easily enough. And even if the BJP and others create problems, it’s the lakhs of voters who decide the fate of political parties.

Different brands of Naidu
Mr Naidu is a different leader when he is in power and when he is in the Opposition. As Chief Minister, he will not accept what the Opposition does though he may have done the same thing when he was in the Opposition.

He faults the Election Commission (ECI) for transferring the Chief Secretary and IPS officers, including the DG (Intelligence), B. Venkateswara Rao, though the YSR Congress party had made a complaint to the Election Commission about these officers and backed it with evidence.

Moreover, during the 2009 Assembly elections, when the late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy was chief minister of combined AP, and Mr Naidu was in the Opposition, his party and other opposition parties had complained about the then DGP, S.S.P. Yadav, for violating the code of conduct and demanded he be transferred. DGP Yadav had praised the then Chief Minister during a visit to Kurnool.

Based on these complaints, the ECI did transfer the officer. Mr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy did not object. He retained power and after taking oath as chief minister for the second time, appointed SSP Yadav again as DGP. In effect, Mr Naidu is blaming the ECI for doing what he had himself requested it to do when he was in the Opposition.

Why AP CS was transferred
In the case of the Chief Secretary, the ECI transferred him for not implementing its order.

At election time, the entire administration goes under the control of the ECI. If the government wants to transfer an officer, it must take permission from the ECI.
In the present case, the state government had transferred DG Venkateswara Rao on the directions of the ECI, but within hours of doing so, the state government issued two orders — one saying that the DG Intelligence would not come under the ECI’s purview since he has no election related duty, and the other order, following from the first, cancelled the transfer of Mr Venkateswar Rao and appointed him as DG Intelligence.

Before making the appointment, the Chief Secretary has to seek the permission of the EC, which he did not do. The ECI thus felt that the Chief Secretary had not implemented its order, and transferred him.

CS cannot meet DGP, but CM can go to CEO
Another interesting thing is that Mr Naidu found fault with the new Chief Secretary L.V. Subramanyam for visiting the headquarters of the DGP.

As head of the state administration, the Chief Secretary has a right to visit any government office and check on the working of the administration. Mr Naidu himself took the unprecedented step of going to the state’s Chief Electoral Office to make a complaint about income-tax raids on TD leaders and transfer of officers in the state.

No Chief Minister has visited the CEO’s office directly to make a complaint. It is generally party leaders or sometimes ministers who make the complaint. If anything, to make a complaint a Chief Minister would meet the Election Commission of India and not the Chief Electoral Officer. Mr Naidu also staged a dharna before the CEO’s office for a while.

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Location: India, Andhra Pradesh