VIJAYAWADA: The scuffle over unanimous elections between YSR Congress, State Election Commission and opposition parties is heading for a flashpoint with the ruling party completely in favour and the SEC and opposition parties opposing the same.
YSRC maintains that it was legal and constitutional and helps in resolving political differences and factions in villages. However, the SEC warned against abnormal unanimous elections. Interestingly, for the first time, SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar announced forming ‘Shadow Teams’ to prevent forcible unanimous elections and also to monitor everything at the ground-level.
He stated that unanimous elections pose a grave threat to democracy as they are against the spirit of Constitution and such trends tend to deprive downtrodden communities of power. He warned that if anyone is found guilty of forcing unanimous elections, they would be sternly dealt with.
Going a step further, Telugu Desam demanded cancellation of unanimous elections forcibly made in March last year. Around 27 per cent unanimous elections were registered during the MPTC and ZPTC elections, which was ‘abnormal’. The TD called its leaders and cadre to prevent unanimous elections and this has turned the gram panchayat unanimous concept into a war between the ruling party, the opposition parties and the SEC.
The YSRC argues that the system of local governance has existed since ancient times. In those times each village had a self-administered governance system. The village governance was shouldered by the Panchas (five wise leaders). The village community used to select the panchas unanimously.
The important criteria followed in their selection were the individual’s character, truthfulness, benevolence, impartiality and capability of delivering justice without prejudice. The intention of adopting this method was to have unity and harmony among diverse groups of people in the village to enhance cooperation between the people, the ruling party points out.
Ministers Botsa Satyanarayana and Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy, leaders Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy and others stated that Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Telangana and Punjab continued to have gram panchayats elections on a non-political party basis.
They claimed that states have adopted innovative methods to encourage unanimous elections at the village panchayat level. They claimed that the constitution itself is giving preference to unanimous elections with people’s consent. They pointed out no election commissioner has so far opposed unanimous elections.
Ramesh Kumar, however, was playing his role in the political conspiracy being hatched by vested interests....