Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu staged a sit-in protest outside the Chief Electoral Officer's (CEO) block at the Secretariat in Amravati on Wednesday, protesting the "tyrannical, undemocratic and arbitrary actions" of the Election Commission (EC) with regard to transfer of several officials.
Earlier, Mr Naidu met CEO Gopal Krishna Dwivedi and submitted a memorandum to him, accusing the EC of acting "on behalf of the YSR Congress under the guidance of the BJP".
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief also wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner on the issue.
He denounced the "autocratic and partisan attitude" of the EC in handling election-related matters pertaining to the state.
"It is surprising that the EC is taking partisan and hasty steps to harass and intimidate government officials with a view to trigger panic in their minds for carrying out legitimate responsibilities," Mr Naidu alleged, referring to the transfer of the state chief secretary, director general (DG) intelligence and three district superintendents of police (SPs).
He also objected to the appointment of retired IPS officer KK Sharma as a special police observer for the Lok Sabha election in the state, alleging that he was a "prejudiced person with an RSS background".
"It is strange and surprising that whenever the opposition YSR Congress party made a complaint, the EC not only promptly responded, but also took action without verifying the facts and without giving an opportunity to the officers against whom the complaint was made," Naidu said in the memorandum.
"The commission should not fall prey to the baseless allegations of such a political party, the leader of which himself is involved in 31 criminal cases. The complaints filed by the TDP have not so far been attended to by the commission.
"This deliberate inaction on the part of the EC on the complaints filed by the TDP and prompt action on the complaints filed by the YSRC only strengthens the suspicion that the commission has been toeing the line of the Union government led by the BJP and also assisting the political parties which are in connivance with it," he alleged.
Further, the chief minister noted that ever since the polls were announced and the Model Code of Conduct came into force, the Income Tax authorities had only been targeting TDP candidates, workers and sympathisers.
"This is, thus, creating an atmosphere of fear and terror and not only violating the Model Code of Conduct, but also disturbing the level-playing field," he said in the memorandum.
None of the candidates belonging to other political parties had been targeted, projecting a message that the TDP candidates and sympathisers alone were the culprits, Mr Naidu added.
"This is encouraging the other parties in the state to make false complaints against the TDP," he lamented.
"Therefore, I strongly protest against such tyrannical and undemocratic attitude of the EC and I hope that it conducts its business by giving a level-playing field to all the contesting political parties in the state, upholds the democratic values and respects the Constitution of India," the TDP chief added.
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