The Election Commission’s decision to conduct re-polling in five polling stations in Chandragiri assembly segment falling under the Chittoor parliamentary constituency in Andhra Pradesh on May 19 has run into a controversy.
Telugu Desam Party president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been fighting a bitter battle with the EC for some time now, on Friday, dashed off a letter to chief election commissioner Sunil Arora, questioning the propriety in conducting the re-polling in five polling booths, acting on a complaint from the YSR Congress party, nearly 38 days after polling was held.
Naidu also rushed to New Delhi in the afternoon to personally meet the CEC and other commissioners to register his protest.
Andhra Pradesh went to polls for 175 assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha seats on April 11. The results are going to be declared along with those of the general elections across the country on May 23.
In his letter, Naidu wondered how the EC could conduct re-polling in phases. “The EC has already conducted re-polling in five other polling stations in three districts on May 6, based on certain complaints. If there were any issues in the polling stations in Chandragiri assembly constituency, why didn’t the Commission enquire into the same and conduct the re-polling on May 6?” he asked.
He said it was ridiculous on the part of the EC to take cognizance of the fresh complaints of the YSRC and order re-polling. “We have seen polling being conducted in different phases, but have never come across re-polling also being held in phases,” he said.
Naidu wondered whether the EC will order re-polling in some other booths even after the declaration of results, if the YSRC leaders come up with fresh complaints.
The TDP chief alleged that the EC had not taken any action on the complaints lodged by the TDP leaders soon after April 11 pointing out irregularities in polling in Chandragiri constituency and demanding re-polling in nine other polling stations. “But it acted swiftly on the complaints lodged by the YSRC leaders,” he criticised.
Meanwhile, the TDP leaders in Vijayawada alleged that the YSRC leaders had influenced the EC through newly-appointed chief secretary L V Subrahmanyam. “The opposition leaders submitted the complaint to the chief secretary, who in turn referred it to the EC seeking re-polling in certain polling stations. In what way, was the chief secretary concerned with re-polling?” TDP official spokesperson P Anuradha asked.
YSRC official spokesman Ambati Rambabu dismissed the TDP’s allegations. “The EC took the decision based on the concrete evidence submitted by the returning officers on the malpractices. Why are the TDP leaders worried over re-polling, if they have not indulged in any malpractices? If the people are with the TDP, they will vote for it again,” he argued.
May 17, 2019 17:57 IST