Vijayawada: In a major development, the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission (SEC) invoked its discretionary powers and transferred Praveen Prakash, principal secretary in the general administration department (political).
Prakash is also principal secretary to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and is involved in several decisions that have resulted in fiascos including the start of ongoing row with the SEC.
The state government is in no mood to implement the SEC decision in the case of Prakash, who, according to a top official, would not come under the direct purview of the SEC. The poll panel’s discretionary powers apply to officials or people’s representatives having direct influence over the voters, the official pointed out.
State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar wrote to Chief Secretary Adityanath Das instructing that Prakash not interact with collectors and superintendents of police or any officers who directly or indirectly deal with matters relating to the elections. His (Prakash) continuance is prejudicial to free and fair elections as he may influence collectors and SPs, the SEC added.
Ramesh Kumar also took objection to the contents of a letter addressed by Prakash to the SEC on January 25 and came to the conclusion that his outlook reflected in the letter was not helpful for the fair conduct of polls, sources said.
Prakash has turned highly controversial ever since he assumed charge in the CMO. What started with the abrupt and unceremonious transfer of then Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam following differences with Prakash has become an endless line of goof-ups by the official.
Be it the removal of Ramesh Kumar as SEC and appointing a former judge which even the Supreme Court struck down or distribution of house sites the decisions proved counter productive to the government. The SEC found fault with Prakash for not implementing its earlier orders on various issues.
Later, Prakash in a letter to the Chief Secretary explained in detail how unfair and unethical the allegations levelled against him by the SEC were. Maintaining that, as GAD (political) secretary, he was just one of the five officers assisting the Chief Secretary, Prakash questioned how holding him responsible for the alleged inaction was justified. “Is it fair? Is it ethical?,” he wrote.
Replying to the SEC’s letter, Prakash didn't leave an opportunity to heap praise on Chief Minister Y.S .Jagan Mohan Reddy and his magnanimity in forgiving officials who committed bonafide mistakes just to see that they weren’t demoralised. Many mistakes committed by All India Service officers were brought to notice of the CM. “A common man if he comes across such instances would have initiated action, but not this CM (Jagan),” said Prakash....