By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Panchayat Raj Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy on Friday accused the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar of threatening district collectors and returning officers, and questioned his powers for withholding the results of unanimous elections in Chittoor and Guntur districts. Addressing mediapersons in Tirupati, the minister asked the officials to discharge their duties as per the rules and not under the influence of the SEC. 

He said “stern action would be initiated against any collector or RO acting against rules because the SEC has said so. Such officials will be put under blacklist as long as the YSRC government will be there,” he warned.  He said every returning officer has quasi-judicial power which they have to exercise; they should not come under influence of either the SEC or the government. 

He said SEC Ramesh Kumar will face the consequences for being biased towards TDP Chief N Chandrababu in the Gram Panchayat elections, and added that the unanimous results will depend on the people of the respective. “Why is the SEC holding back the unanimous results when even Presidential, MP, MLA, and MLC elections could be unanimous?”

He accused the SEC of working in the interest of Chandrababu Naidu. and questioned his rationale behind the directions to the collectors of Chittoor and Guntur districts. “The returning officers should discharge their duties, scrutinise and issue declaration form. If there are any objection, they can be resolved in the court,” he said. 

Peddireddy also said Ramesh Kumar had launched the eWatch app that was  developed by the TDP, and welcomed the High Court’s decision to stop its usage till February 9. “More than 90 percent of the YSRCP-backed candidates will win in the panchayat elections,” he evinced hope. 

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