Long wait for MPTC, ZPTC elections in Andhra Pradesh

The government is seeking to complete the MPTC and ZPTC elections before the retirement of current SEC Ramesh Kumar

VIJAYAWADA: All eyes are now on the long-awaited MPTC and ZPTC elections following the completion of gram panchayat, municipal and corporation polls.

The ruling YSR Congress that had a clean sweep of GP and urban local body elections aims to continue with its victory march in the MPTC and ZPTC elections but the state election commission did not announce the election schedule yet, which halted their forward march.

Significantly, the Opposition parties including the Telugu Desam that continuously demanded conducting of MPTC and ZPTC elections turned silent abruptly after seeing the landslide victory of the YSRC in the already held civic polls.

There are 10,047 MPTC seats in 13 districts of AP, for which notification was issued to 9,692 seats. Of these, 2,371 turned unanimous. Similarly, there were 660 ZPTC seats, of which elections to 126 were unanimous.

Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is seeking the completion of MPTC and ZPTC elections in six days’ time, saying he would want officials to extricate themselves out of the poll-related works and concentrate soon on the Corona vaccination programme.

Chief secretary Adityanath Das has met SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, seeking polls to MPTC and ZPTC elections, but there was no response. A petition was also filed in the AP high court seeking MPTC and ZPTC elections.

SEC Ramesh Kumar would retire by the end of this month and it would take time for appointment of a new SEC. Hence, the government is seeking to complete the MPTC and ZPTC elections before the retirement of Kumar.

The AP high court heard on Saturday a plea seeking these elections and reserved its verdict.

These elections were originally scheduled for March 21 last year, but SEC indefinitely postponed them in view of the start of the coronavirus spread. The YSRC opposed the move, saying there was not much of a virus spread. But the SEC refused to budge. Later, SEC tried to hold these polls as his retirement date was nearing. The YSRC government opposed the move and SEC knocked on the doors of the courts and won orders in his favour.

SEC vowed to restart the election process from where it was stopped, but he did not take up the MPTC and ZPTC elections while conducting the gram panchayat, municipal and corporation elections.

SEC was against electing MPTC and ZPTC members in large numbers and agreed with the allegations of opposition parties including TD that the YSRC government was forcefully going in for unanimous elections. As many as 2,371 MPTC seats turned unanimous. This formed 24.46 per cent of the total seats.

Further, 126 ZPTC seats were switched as unanimous, which formed 19.32 per cent of the total seats. The ruling YSRC won 2,217 MPTC seats unanimously, TD won 101 seats, Jana Sena 4 and others 49 seats, all unanimously.

TD and other parties leveled allegations of YSRC forcing unanimous elections by threatening their candidates and demanded a fresh start for the election process. This halted issuing of winner certificates to the unanimous candidates.

The unopposed-elected candidates knocked on the doors of the high court, which directed the SEC to issue winner certificates, while affirming SEC has no right to halt the election process.

Adviser to the government (public affairs) Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, ministers Botsa Satyanarayana and other leaders said there were no illegalities in the filing of nominations and in withdrawal of nominations in the ZPTC/MPTC elections. They argued that six days are enough to conduct MPTC and ZPTC elections as all the processes were complete.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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