Hyderabad, Jan 23 : Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar on Saturday complained to the director general of police Gautam Sawang about a government employee's alleged threat and asked him to keep a close watch on him.
Kumar was referring to Venkatrami Reddy, a representative of government employees who has been allegedly vehemently opposing holding panchayat elections.
The SEC claimed that Reddy said: The Constitution has given a right to every individual to defend their life. In continuance of this right the Constitution has given the right to kill.
"The commission views this as most provocating and an unfortunate comment and a potential death threat issued against the commissioner in his personal capacity," said Kumar.
He asked Sawang to take due cognizance of the above statement and keep a close watch on the activities of Reddy whether his they are likely to lead to events and situation resulting in physical hurt to Kumar.
However, the exact translation of Reddy's statements to a Telugu news channel, as shared by the official twitter handle of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) amount to: But this is related to our life. The Constitution gave rights to everyone. In the Constitution, if one is in a life threatening situation, he has the right to even kill. The Constitution gave us the right to kill if somebody comes to kill us. Is it bigger than that. Life is that important to us.
The southern state is witnessing a massive controversy over the conduct of panchayat elections, which have been notified on Saturday in four phases, with polling starting from February 5.
Several employee unions as well as the state government have vociferously objected the SEC's decision to go for polls amid the Covid pandemic and the gigantic vaccination drive underway.
Employee unions are demanding that they will go to polls after receiving two jabs of the vaccine and have declared that their life is more important than the elections for them, including questioning Kumar as to why he didn't conduct the elections when they were originally supposed to have been held in 2018 itself.
These elections were originally supposed to have been held in 2018 when the tenure of the local bodies expired back then but Kumar chose not to hold them.
However, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy thought of going to the polls in March 2020 but Kumar did not give the green signal, citing the Coronavirus pandemic, leading to a major standoff between the two.
Reddy accused Kumar of acting at the behest of opposition leader Nara Chandrababu Naidu, during whose tenure he was appointed and even tried to replace him, which backfired as the SEC has Constitutional protection equal to a Supreme Court judge.
With just two more months left as the SEC, Kumar is keen on conducting the polls which the state government is opposing, citing the Coronavirus pandemic and the gigantic vaccination drive.
The Supreme Court may take a call on AP government's petition to postpone elections on Monday.