Andhra Pradesh SEC says he apprehends threat to life for postponing local body polls, seeks central security cover

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar on Wednesday requested the Centre to provide him central police force security cover, saying he apprehends threat to his life and that of his family members.

In a five-page letter to the Union Home Secretary, the SEC alleged intimidation by the ruling YSR Congress party following his decision to put off elections to rural and urban local bodies for six weeks in view of coronavirus scare.

 Andhra Pradesh SEC says he apprehends threat to life for postponing local body polls, seeks central security cover

File image of the Election Commission of India. News18

"All this intimidation is meant to demoralise me and force me to revisit the postponed elections for their sole political advancement," the SEC alleged.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to interfere with the decision of Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission (APSEC) to postpone the local body elections in the state by six weeks due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The top court was hearing a plea of Andhra Pradesh government against the decision of State Election Commission (SEC) while contending that a large number of developmental activities have been suspended due to the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct for the local body elections in the state.

"Now the Supreme Court had upheld my actions. But the road ahead is a testing time beset with challenges and acrimony as the government of the day lacks in grace to treat constitutional bodies with due dignity and deference," Ramesh Kumar said.

He said the axing of "partisan and inefficient bureaucrats and police officers" was meant as a signal to bring home the necessary course correction, neutrality and fair play in the next phase of elections (stage 2 and 3 elections) from the poll machinery, but the state government chose not to implement the SEC orders on the pretext of pending writ petition in the Supreme Court.

He said, "There are real apprehensions of physical threats, attacks directed against me and family members."

He said under the circumstances, he has no other recourse other than appealing to the Centre and the Union Home Ministry to come to his rescue and provide a security cover through appropriate Central Police Force "commensurate with the current risk perceptions."

Ramesh was appointed as State Election Commissioner in 2016 by the previous TDP government. Prior to that, he served as Principal Secretary to state governor E S L Narasimhan for about seven years. He also served as Executive Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.

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Updated Date: Mar 18, 2020 22:55:38 IST


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