Cannot Conduct Local Body Elections Amid Covid: Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary

The Chief Secretary in her letter to the SEC, said the situation in Andhra Pradesh, particularly in rural areas has been a matter of grave concern.

Cannot Conduct Local Body Elections Amid Covid: Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary

The government said it will inform the SEC when it will be ready to resume elections. (Representational)

Amaravati:

Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney has replied to State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar's letter regarding local body elections, stating that "it is not possible to conduct local body elections" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Sawhney said that the state government will immediately inform the SEC about its preparedness and readiness in resuming the adjourned elections, as and when the situation becomes conducive.

The Chief Secretary in her letter to the SEC, said that the situation in Andhra Pradesh, particularly in rural areas has been a matter of grave concern.

"Entire district administration including police continue to be actively involved in containment measures. Comparison among states may not present the correct picture as the situation is different in each state. The central government has already warned the states to be wary of winter months," she said.

She has asked the SEC to re-examine its decision in this regard. Further, she informed that it is not necessary for SEC to hold video conferencing with district collectors and other officers and that further consultations be continued.

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AP State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar had written a letter to the chief secretary and issued a notification that the commission is ready to conduct elections in February 2021 and asked to make necessary arrangements.

Citing other states conducting elections, he further wrote that there are no legal hurdles for the conduct of local body elections.

The SEC had postponed the local body elections in March 2020 citing the coronavirus pandemic, just a few days ahead of the elections. Both the SEC and state government have been at loggerheads since then.

Though the SEC did not directly mention of fresh notification, most of the political parties are asking for fresh notification for conduct of the election. However, the government categorically said that it will inform the SEC when it will be ready at a conducive situation, to resume the adjourned elections.