It has been a long drawn fight between AP government and State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar. Right from the day YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took over as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, things did not go well for Ramesh Kumar who was appointed as Commissioner by the outgoing chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu in 2016. His term would come to an end in a few months from now. Since he was appointed during the last regime and he belongs to the same community as that of Opposition leader Naidu, his intentions have been suspected by the YSRCP government. The government took a stand not to go for elections during the tenure of Ramesh Kumar after he unilaterally stopped the election process citing Corona virus during on 15 March 2020.
After postponing the elections, Ramesh Kumar moved back to Hyderabad and took an office there. In his absence, the State government has issued orders terminating his services as SEC by amending the section 200 of the Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 through an ordinance. Governor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan has issued orders appointing Justice J Kanakaraj , a retired judge of Madras High Court, as the new SEC. The retired judge travelled from Chennai to Amaravati to take over the new assignment and went back to Chennai after swearing in. Ramesh Babu has appealed against the government decision. He was restored in his job by AP high court. The Supreme Court did not admit the special leave petition filed by AP government requesting for squashing the HC orders favouring the SEC.
After the Cornoa infections appeared to have come down and elections to Bihar Assembly and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were held, Ramesh Kumar started his work to resume elections. The government said it is busy with the vaccine programme and the elections have to wait. The Election Commissioner appealed to the High Court where a single judge has rejected his petition. The single judge’s order was reversed by a division bench at AP High Court. Soon after the State govt. filed a petition in Supreme Court on Friday. Since there were errors in the petition, things got delayed. The SC said there was no hurry to hear the petition and it could be taken up on Monday. Ramesh Kumar had not lost any time and promptly released the election schedule on Saturday. It is fait accompli. On Monday, the SC has upheld the AP High Court judgment given by the division bench.
In the seesaw battle, Ramesh Kumar appears to have had the last laugh.
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