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TDP, Jana Sena urge ECI to sanitise electoral rolls

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | January 09, 2024 05:56 PM

Vijayawada:Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Jana Sena Party (JSP) have requested the Election Commission of India (ECI) to take steps to sanitise the electoral rolls and conduct fearless, free and fair elections in Andhra Pradesh.

TDP President and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and JSP leader and actor Pawan Kalyan on Tuesday met the Election Commission team here and urged it to treat Andhra Pradesh as a special case and take steps to “save democracy.”

Claiming that the people of Andhra Pradesh were revolting against the YSRCP Government, Naidu alleged that the ruling party was enrolling bogus voters. The two leaders complained to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar about the malpractices in Special Summary Revision (SSR).

They demanded a thorough investigation into the malpractices in the SSR process and penal action against the people responsible.

Elections to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly are due to be held along with Lok Sabha polls in the next few months and an ECI team is visiting the state to review the preparations.

Highlighting serious issues related to SSR, the TDP and JSP leaders said District Election Officers (DEOs) and Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) were not following the directions of the ECI under pressure of the ruling party.

They said the field machinery at the district level, instead of rectifying the defects in the electoral rolls, had been transferring their representations to junior officers and not monitoring the outcomes.

“The reason for such an apathy and dereliction can be directly linked to the most tyrannical rule of the YSRCP Government which has subjugated the rule of law and governance to an unprecedented historical low,” said the representation submitted to the CEC.

The TDP and JSP leaders alleged that draft election rolls were published without processing about 10.32 lakh applications.

They mentioned that there are over 4 lakh cases of non-deletion of death, permanent migrants, DSE (demographically similar entries) and PSE (photo similar entries).

They said that Form-7 applications were filled in bulk and EROs accepted bulk applications while the CEO website is not reflecting the user details.

The CEC was also informed that the staff of village secretariats was being appointed as Booth Level Officers (BLOs). They also referred to unofficial participation of volunteers in house-to-house surveys despite the ECI’s directives and their influence over the voters.

The leaders also made it clear that it is not enough to book FIRs and said charge sheets should be filed to take cases to a logical end to punish the guilty.

They also alleged that ever since the YSRCP Government headed by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy assumed office in 2019, all the YSRCP leaders and some government officials have been on a mission mode to decimate the Opposition parties through different strategies, their main target being the TDP and Jana Sena Party leaders.

About 6,000 criminal cases were booked against important TDP functionaries alone in the last 58 months of YSRCP’s tyrannical rule, they claimed.

Naidu and Pawan Kalyan urged the ECI to keep volunteers away from their duties during the election period and make them liable for the disciplinary and penal action on par with public servants.

They mentioned that the YSRCP Government had invented an ingenious system of volunteers by paying them from the government exchequer. “They carry out the YSRCP’s work in the garb of delivering welfare schemes at the doorsteps of the beneficiaries. The volunteers are loyalists of YSRCP and engaging them for election duties will endanger and vitiate the neutrality and fairness of the electoral process,” they said.

They requested that Mahila police working as BLOs should be removed from election duties.

There are 2,552 policewomen in 87 Assembly constituencies under the village sachivalayams who are functioning as BLOs.

They alleged that the policewomen were found to be indulging in voter list manipulations to favour YSRCP.

The ECI was requested not to involve staff associated with the ‘Why AP needs Jagan’ political campaign in the election process.

Deployment of special police observers to each Assembly constituency under the supervision of a separate cell at the state level headed by political observers, deputing adequate number of central forces well in advance to create a congenial and peaceful environment before elections, transfer of collectors, SPs and EROs who are partisan in their conduct after discreet enquiries are the other demands of the delegation.

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