Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Sunday launched an unprecedented attack on State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar for postponing the local bodies elections citing coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19), alleging that the official was showing caste loyalty towards former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

“It seems the state election commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar is working at the behest of N Chandrababu Naidu. He was appointed by Naidu and now he was showing his caste loyalty as they both belong to the same caste,” Reddy said in his response to the postponement of the election.

“Kumar did not even consult the chief secretary or the health secretary before taking such a decision,” Reddy said.

Earlier, Kumar had announced that the state election commission decided to postpone the local body polls for six weeks in the wake of coronavirus spread.

New dates will be announced once the spread of the virus is contained, he had said.

The ongoing local bodies’ elections in Andhra Pradesh is witnessing a bitter political war between the ruling YSRCP and the opposition TDP.

What angered Reddy more was the state election commissioner’s decision to transfer a couple of district collectors and police officials.

“Though he has constitutional powers, how can he misuse it so blatantly. I am not going to keep quiet,” Jagan said.

The Chief Minister also lodged a complaint with Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan regarding this. “Ever since YSRCP won a considerable number of seats unanimously, the TDP along has been conspiring to stall polls to save its face and also to deprive the state of the Central funds to a tune of Rs 5, 000 crores which we have to forfeit if polls are not held before March 31,” Jagan said.

The elections have to be held to fill 9600 posts in local bodies. Over 50,000 nominations were filed and more than 2000 YSRCP candidates were unanimously elected for MPTCs (Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies).

Responding to the chief minister’s attack, TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu said Kumar’s name was recommended by the then Governor ESL Narasimhan.

“The chief minister says the State Election Commissioner belongs to my caste and I had appointed him. I want to clarify here. Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar was recommended by the then Governor ESL Narasimhan whereas CR Biswal was my choice at the moment. Because the then Governor had recommended I had appointed him. Attributing motives here is not correct,” Naidu said.

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