TDP National President and Opposition Leader N Chandrababu Naidu accused the YSRCP’s contesting candidates in local body elections of violating the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown norms and also the guidelines issued by the State Election Commission not to campaign till further notice.
Mr. Naidu appealed to State Election Commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar to disqualify all those Ruling Party contestants who are found guilty of distributing Rs. 1,000 themselves to the poor families to woo their votes.
In a letter to SEC here on Wednesday, Mr. Naidu said that the Rs 1,000 financial assistance was actually announced by the government as part of COVID-19 relief. The paid volunteers in villages and wards are authorised to distribute this money but the YSRCP nominees are doing this themselves to bring pressure on the poor voters to support them in the postponed election.
Mr. Naidu told the SEC that photos, videos and other evidence would be submitted to the election commission to prove where and how the YSRCP contestants have violated the election guidelines. Local people took photos and videos of YSRCP excesses at 253 places in the state, which would be submitted to SEC by TDP. The ruling party is resorting to rampant misuse of power and official machinery including volunteers all over the state to influence the voters though there is ban on electioneering now.
Referring to the current nationwide lockdown to prevent virus transmission, Mr. Naidu told the commission that the YSRCP candidates were violating the social distancing norms by going in crowds to doorsteps of poor families in the name of Rs 1,000 distribution. They are unabashedly asking the poor voters to cast their votes once the elections are restarted. They are also creating scare among the poor families.
Mr. Naidu recalled that the Central government has banned all sorts of political and social gatherings in the country to combat and eradicate Coronavirus epidemic. But, the YSRCP leaders and contestants are endangering the public health by mobilising crowds to seek votes from poor beneficiaries of COVID-19 relief, ration and assistance. While the whole country is making frantic efforts to fight back Corona threat, the ruling party leaders in Andhra Pradesh are making a mockery of the nationwide lockdown in the state.
Stating that poor people’s lives became vulnerable because of YSRCP negligence, Mr. Naidu said that at the time of postponing the local polls, the SEC has directed political parties not to campaign till further notice. But, the YSRCP candidates violated this in all the 175 assembly segments in the state.
Referring to AP Panchayat Raj Amendment Ordinance 2 of 2020, Mr. Naidu asked for disqualification of the erring ruling party candidates and also give relevant punishment as per the Ordinance. Also, the YSRCP nominees violated Sections 51-60 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 by gathering crowds during lockdown. Moreover, the ruling party candidates are punishable under Sections 171(E), 171 (F) and 188 of the IPC for violating the SEC guidelines.
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