The ruling YSRCP government in government on Thursday sent an ordinance to Governor Bhusan Haricchandan to remove Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as State Election Commissioner and begin the process of appointing a new commissioner.
The state government demanded an amendment in the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj Act, 1994 to change the tenure, eligibility and method of appointment of the State Election Commissioner (SEC).
This amendment was requested on the grounds of electoral reforms to ensure that an independent, fair and neutral person holds the high office, reported Telugu 360.
The state government also requested the governor to only appoint to the post of SEC a person who has held the office of the judge of the High Court.
According to reports, Kumar is likely to move the High Court challenging the government’s decision to remove him from the office.
The friction between the SEC and the government began only after Kumar had decided to postpone the local body elections by six weeks in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
In the run up to the elections, the SEC noted that there were widespread incidents of violence in the state even in the presence of the police. These incidents were reportedly perpetrated by the ruling party against the opposition parties, mainly the TDP, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jana Sena workers and activists.
Following this, the ruling YSRCP government moved the Supreme Court challenging the SEC decision to postpone the elections. However, the apex court upheld the SEC decision to defer the polls while asking the election commission to partially lift the model code of conduct.
The YSRCP leaders, including party president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy attributed caste motives to Kumar's decision to defer the polls.
Subsequently, Kumar wrote a letter to the Union Home Secretary expressing fear for his life. In the letter, Kumar mentioned that his family and he received several threats from the ruling party in the state ever since the SEC took the decision to delay the polls.