No deployment of Central forces for civic body polls: Andhra SEC
Anantapur, Jan 29 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar on Friday said he would conduct the panchayat elections with the help of state government personnel and had no intention to deploy Central forces.
“These elections will happen only with state personnel, we don’t have any intention to use Central forces. We have complete faith in the state personnel who are enough to efficiently conduct the elections,” Kumar added.
He visited the Anantapur district on Friday and met the District Collector Gandham Chandrudu and Superintendent of Police (SP) Satya Yesu Babu to review preparations for the rural local body elections.
In the first phase of the elections for which nominations began on Friday, Kadiri revenue division and 12 ‘mandalams’ are going to the polls on February 9 in the district.
Amadagur, Bukkapatnam, Gandlapenta, Kadiri, Kothacheruvu, NP Kunta, Nallacheruvu, Nallamada, Obuladevaracheruvu, Puttaparthi, Talupula and Tanakal are the 12 mandalams.
Kumar congratulated Chandrudu and Babu for making all the necessary arrangements without requiring him to give any special directives.
However, he said it could be a challenge to handle the difficulties arising from the large inter-state border.
The SEC called upon all people in the state to actively participate in the rural local body elections.
“With your participation, institutions like panchayats will strengthen. When the elections get over quickly, the rural local bodies will also receive their funds and good leadership,” said the former Indian Administrative Service official.
Kumar assured the people of the state that all security arrangements have been made, including stretching polling time from 6.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., as social distancing norms had to be followed.
According to the State Election Commissioner, polling time in pre-Covid times used to be between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.
He assured that the last one hour of polling would be allocated to those Covid positive voters interested in exercising their franchise.
“In the last hour, those Covid positive patients who evinced interest to vote will be provided PPE kits and will be allowed to vote. I appreciate the District Collector for making all the arrangements for employees,” Kumar said.
Set to retire on March 31, Kumar has scheduled four-phase panchayat elections, whose process begun on Friday with the nominations for the first phase while the last phase elections would be held on February 21.