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TDP chief slams Andhra poll body for receiving nominations on Diwali

TDP President and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday slammed the State Election Commission (SEC) for receiving nominations for local body elections on Diwali.

He came down heavily on the state poll panel, claiming it was not taking independent decisions and was "blindly following the orders" of the YSRCP government.

He questioned the rationale behind the SEC continuing the election process even on Diwali day.

"How can the candidates be asked to file their nominations when all others were celebrating the festival? The anarchic regime was deriving sadistic pleasure by hurting religious sentiments as well. Would they hold an election on Christmas," he asked.

He demanded an explanation from the SEC and the DGP on the ruling YSRCP's threats to prevent the opposition candidates from filing nominations in the civic body elections.

The TDP chief alleged that just like before, the YSRCP was trying to turn the present election to the 12 municipalities and one municipal corporation into a farce.

The ruling party leaders, the police and the officials were directly threatening and asking the opposition candidates not to file nominations. In some cases, nomination papers were being torn off, he said.

Naidu showed a video and pointed out how a village vice president belonging to the YSRCP was directly threatening the rival candidate not to file nomination.

"The YSRCP village leader was behaving locally just like how Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has been behaving like an unlawful person at the state level. With their uncontrolled sadism and offences, the YSRCP leaders have turned Andhra Pradesh into a 'State of lunatics'," he said.

Naidu cautioned the opposition candidates to take maximum precautions to ensure that their nominations would remain valid. As the officials were trying to invalidate nominations at various stages, the candidates should take the help of advocates and get proper acknowledgements after filing nominations, he said, adding that copies of their nominations should be mailed to the District Collectors, the SEC and the election observers.

Naidu asserted that if the election officials committed any election fraud, the TDP would approach the courts and seek the required relief. The opposition candidates were receiving threats from the ruling party and they should record all such calls for evidence before the courts. The general public should also join the fight to prevent the anti-social elements and the YSRCP goondas from taking democracy for a ride, he said.

Referring to Kuppam polls, he alleged that Punganur Commissioner Lokeshwar Varma was appointed special officer for Kuppam in order to rig the elections. This officer has started ordering all the Government staff on duty in elections to ensure the YCP victory. He alleged that Varma behaved in a criminal way and got all 24 wards in Punganur declared unanimously for the YSRCP in the past.

Naidu asked how the SEC could appoint a tainted officer like Varma for Kuppam polls.

"The TDP got 25 percent more votes in Kuppam in the 2019 elections. Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy along with his officials were scheming to reverse this trend with their anarchic activities. The YSRCP leaders were indeed desperate to win all elections so as to cover up their Government's miserable failures and rising unpopularity," he said.

The TDP chief warned that if the officials continued to support the 'Tughlaq' rule, it would be the beginning of their end. "The TDP would surely form a commission to probe and punish all such officers who colluded with the lawless regime of Jagan Reddy," he said.

Naidu also claimed that the CM and his MLAs were getting terrified of the rising discontent and resentment of all sections of the people against their government. Instead of showing his frustration in the civic polls, Jaganmohan Reddy should dissolve the Assembly and face the public, he demanded.

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