Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu threatens EC with legal action to recover cost overrun

Angry over the Election Commission preventing him from holding review meetings on ongoing projects, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday indirectly threatened the poll body with legal action to recover cost overrun.

Stepping up his attack on the Election Commission, Naidu alleged that it was usurping powers of a democratically elected government.

In a nine-page letter to the EC, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) lashed out at the poll body saying it was intentionally paralysing the state administration.

Stating that the review of ongoing projects like Polavaram and construction of the new capital city was required for completing of the works in a time-bound manner, Naidu said the Election Commission would be solely responsible for the cost overrun and loss of time of these projects. 

"The people of Andhra Pradesh reserve the right to recover the cost overrun amounts from all concerned personally who come in the way of timely completion of these projects by initiating appropriate legal proceedings," he wrote.

Naidu told the poll panel that since there was a gap of nearly six weeks between the conclusion of the elections and counting of votes, it was not constitutionally and legally correct to deprive the people of the state the right to be governed by their democratically elected government for five years.

He said since the electorate exercised their franchise, the poll panel had no jurisdiction to stop any review meeting by him or briefing by the officers.

Naidu said the Chief Electoral Officer's comments that the Chief Minister did not have powers to review the departments was surprising and shocking and alleged that the CEO was exceeding his jurisdiction. 

"Comments by CEO were absurd and arbitrary and also belittle relevance and primacy of political governance in a democratic polity."

Naidu also took strong exception to the CEO directing Additional Director General (Intelligence) not to report to the Chief Minister and wondered if Director (IB) and National Security Advisor were are also prohibited from functioning under the Prime Minister. 

"Have you issued similar orders in other states? If not, why this discriminating orders in case of the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh?"

The TDP chief pointed out that Prime Minister and also Chief Minister in Telangana continued to hold review meetings of the departments.

Stating that seven people died in thunderbolts last week, Naidu said this could have been averted if the democratically elected government was allowed to function. 

"Who is responsible for these deaths?" asked Naidu and said many critical issues require urgent attention of the state government and cannot be postponed till May 23.

He reiterated that the Election Commission failed to conduct the the elections properly, depriving many people of their right to vote. 

Naidu wrote that in his 40-year-long political career he never saw an election which was so badly conducted, logistically mismanaged and poorly organised.

Elections to 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state were held in a single phase on April 11.

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