Andhra Pradesh files SLP in apex court on HC verdict allowing panchayat polls

Kannababu slammed SEC N. Ramesh Kumar for his \'adamant attitude\' towards holding the polls before completion of his tenure

Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court on Thursday expressing its difficulty to conduct the gram panchayat polls as scheduled by the State Election Commission and hold the Covid-19 vaccination programme simultaneously, following the High Court’s verdict allowing the elections to be held.

The SLP followed the High Court verdict earlier in the day allowing conduct of the polls despite objections from the state government.

The government’s main contention in the SLP is that employees were now preoccupied with the Covid-19 management and vaccination programmes. It would be difficult to simultaneously handle the vaccination programme and the gram panchayat polls, the SLP stated. The government expressed the fear that performing both the tasks at the same time could jeopardise the safety of the general public and the employees. It sought the intervention of the apex court to defer the polls.

Meanwhile, state government adviser (public affairs) Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy said the government cannot put the lives of employees in peril by forcing them hold the gram panchayat polls. The state government should not be blamed if the Covid-19 pandemic spread aggravated as a result of simultaneous polls.

Speaking to the media, Reddy slammed Telugu Desam chief N. Chandrababu Naidu for “spreading lies” such as “arrest” of former TD president K. Kala Venkata Rao. The police only served a notice on Rao under section 41-A CrPC, asking him to report for an inquiry. Naidu was also making false allegations against the state DGP, he said, and added that such derogatory remarks could invite defamation suits and payment of compensation. .

The adviser flayed Naidu for his “insulting” remarks about the idols of gods and in particular of Lord Ram. Naidu used expressions like ‘beheading’ of Ram idol. “It only reflected his mental state.”

On desecration of the Nandeeswar statue at Santhabommali, Reddy alleged that TD leaders were behind the recent attacks on temples. “TD leaders are trying to save their face after CCTV footage exposed their wanton acts.” Naidu, he said, encouraged such acts as he was worried over people’s growing support to Chief Minister Jagan for “providing good governance and initiating a series of welfare schemes” in the state.

Meanwhile, agriculture minister K. Kannababu said in Visakhapatnam that the state government would respect the verdict given by the High Court on gram panchayat polls. He slammed State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar for his “adamant attitude” towards holding the polls before completion of his tenure. The SEC, he said, is bent on putting the lives of the people and the employees in danger.

Minister for social welfare Pinepe Viswaroop said in Ongole that the state would move apex court against the High Court’s verdict.

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