17-03-202017-03-2020 16:43:29 IST
Updated On 17-03-2020 16:54:08 ISTUpdated On 17-03-20202020-03-17T11:13:29.325Z17-03-2020 2020-03-17T11:12:32.272Z - 2020-03-17T11:24:08.282Z - 17-03-2020
Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar has strongly responded to Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney's letter to conduct the local body elections as per the schedule announced earlier.
It may be recalled that the SEC came under severe attack by the ruling party leaders including Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for the former's decision to defer the local body polls in view of Coronavirus scare.
Stating that there have been 'concerted' attacks on the State Election Commission, Kumar took exception to the Commission being needlessly faulted for the decision to defer the local polls. He said it was his duty to safeguard the high Constitutional status of the Commission as well as to clear the air about its conscious and objective decision making process.
Responding to the criticism that postponement of elections may likely hamper the possibility of accessing the 14th Finance Commission grants meant for local bodies, the SEC said that for release of funds to local bodies (basic grants and performance grants), holding of elections to local bodies is one of the conditions. ln the past, the State Government was able to access successfully withheld funds after holding elections for the previous years as well.
Pointing out that Coronavirus was truly a circumstance beyond anticipation, the SEC disclosed that three States, i.e., Maharashtra, West Bengal and neighbouring Orissa had also put on hold local body elections. ln fact, all State Election Commissions in the country have deferred holding bye-polls, he added. He quoted the examples of Bihar and Goa in this regard.
Offering the support of the State Election Commission for the state's efforts to access the 14th Finance Commission funds through any requisite documentation from SEC's end, the SEC said that he was writing to you primarily to clear the misconception that the SEC is ill-informed about Coronavirus threat and the financial implications for States.
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