Since the voting was to be by ballot paper, long queues were expected.
Vijayawada: The coronavirus threat has now halted the local body elections in Andhra Pradesh. State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar has announced postponement of the elections by six weeks.
Addressing the media here on Sunday, the officer said that as the central government has declared a national emergency in view of the WHO certifying the threat as a pandemic, the local body elections have been postponed.
Ramesh Kumar said that since ballot papers would be used in the local body elections, and therefore there would be long queues at poling stations, it was imperative that the elections be postponed to avoid congregation of many people at one place.
He said contamination of ballot boxes would pose a big threat to public health, so it was advisabled to temporarily halt the elections.
The SEC clarified that the Model Code of Conduct will continue to be in force for the six weeks as this was a postponement, not a cancellation. He further clarified that those who have been unanimously elected will continue in their posts.
Referring to the disturbances witnessed during the election process in Guntur and Chittoor districts, Ramesh Kumar said the Election Commission suggested transfer of the collectors and SPs of the two districts.
He added that an inquiry has been ordered into poll disturbances in Tirupati, Macharla and Punganoor. The SEC stated that the new election schedule will be released later after conducting a review meeting.