Andhra Pradesh election commissioner orders house arrest of state rural development minister for threatening officers

According to the order, minister P Ramachandra Reddy had threatened to blacklist collectors and returning officers obeying the instructions of State Election Commissioner Ramesh Kumar

Press Trust of India February 06, 2021 17:09:47 IST
Andhra Pradesh election commissioner orders house arrest of state rural development minister for threatening officers

Andha Pradesh Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar. News18

Amaravati: In a rare occurrence, the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission on Saturday issued orders to the Director-General of Police to ensure that Minister P Ramachandra Reddy is "confined" to his home till 21 February for his alleged remarks against the commission.

Panchayat polls in the state are scheduled to begin from 9 February and will go on till 21 February in four phases.

SEC Ramesh Kumar, in his order said the Commission had carefully looked at various alternatives and avenues of remedial action and was invoking its plenary powers under Article 243K of the Constitution and directing the DGP to"confine" the Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development to his residential premises till completion of gram panchayat elections, which would conclude on 21 February.

The orders issued are in the nature of reasonable restrictions and are essentially preventive measures, taken recourse to ensure free and fair elections and to enable the voters to exercise their franchise freely "uninfluenced by threats and intimidation", the Order said.

According to the SEC Order, the Minister, in a press conference on Thursday, warned that Collectors and Returning Officers not to obey the instructions of the "madcap Election Commissioner" and if they do so (preventing forced unanimous elections), action will be taken against those officials and they will be blacklisted after the polls are over. Reddy also allegedly attributed political motives to the SEC, saying Ramesh Kumar is favouring the opposition Telugu Desam Party with a view to get its MP or MLC seat in the future.

Reacting to the SEC's order, Reddy said he just watched the news on TV channels and if the DGP has to implement the SECsOrder, he can do it.

"I am not opposing it. I am only saying that these kinds of gag orders issued by the SEC in connivance with TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu indicate that the SEC has gone mad. People will certainly teach them lessons for this," Reddy told reporters.

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