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Local polls in Feb impossible, CS tells SEC

Local polls in Feb impossible, CS tells SEC

Within hours of Andhra Pradesh state election commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar declaring that elections to urban and rural local bodies would be held in February 2021 in view of rapid improvement in Covid-19 situation, the Jagan government gave him a sharp retort.

In a late-night letter to Nimmagadda, state chief secretary Neelam Sawhney it was not proper to think of conducting elections to local bodies at this stage, when the overall high positivity of the state, the high number of active cases and the spread to rural areas have been a matter of grave concern. 

“The fact of the matter is that the entire district administration including the police continue to be actively involved in the containment measures,” she said.

She also pointed out that it was not correct to compare the Covid-19 situation in Andhra Pradesh with other states, where elections were being conducted, as various states have followed different strategies to deal with the pandemic and have been affected differently.

“Hence, we may not let down our guard particularly as the Government of India has warned the states to be wary of the cold/winter months. We cannot afford to have another surge having already lost 6,890 human lives,” the chief secretary said.

She suggested that as and when the situation becomes conducive for the conduct of elections to local bodies, the state government will immediately inform the SEC regarding its preparedness and readiness in resuming the adjourned elections.

Sawhney said taking a decision for holding elections during a particular period may not be in the best interest of the safety and health of the citizens. She even said it was not necessary at present to review the preparedness for conduct of elections. 

“Such a process could perhaps be initiated after the state government is more prepared for the conduct of elections,” the chief secretary added.

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Tags: Local Body Elections