Even after the division bench of the Andhra Pradesh state high court on Thursday cleared the decks for conduct of elections to gram panchayats in February, uncertainty continues to prevail over the elections even now.
Employees of the Andhra Pradesh government announced that they would not take part in the local body election process, risking their lives in view of the Coronavirus pandemic.
‘“We shall challenge the high court verdict in the Supreme Court and seek the postponement of the local body elections. In the prevailing circumstances, we cannot participate in the elections as there is a threat to our lives,” Andhra Pradesh government employees’ federation chairman Venkatrami Reddy told reporters.
So far, the state government has not spelt out its stand as to whether it would move the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the high court order.
However, soon after the high court verdict, State election commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar claimed that the state government had already submitted a binding undertaking before the division bench of the high court stating that it would do everything possible for holding gram panchayat elections and would not seek change of dates.
He said the gram panchayat elections would be held as per the schedule announced earlier.
The elections will take place in four phases: February 5, 9, 13 and 17 and the model code of conduct had already come into effect sequel to the pronouncement of judgment of high court.
He said in rural areas of the state, public representatives shall not be associated in distribution of benefits that would influence the electorate. The Chief Secretary had already been addressed to bring this to the notice of Collectors.
The Commission will hold a meeting with Chief Secretary and Director General of Police and with District Collectors and SPs regarding poll arrangements at the earliest, he said.