Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday raised serious objection to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy holding meetings with officials to discuss fresh schedule for local body elections amid the COVID-19 crisis. Last month, the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission (APSEC) had deferred by six weeks the local body elections due to the coronavirus scare and also owing to incidents of violence being reported since election dates were announced. The ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) had said it would challenge the APSEC’s move in the Supreme Court.
"Whether it was a joke that the YSRCP is still considering to hold polls while the whole world is fighting to mitigate the worst effects of the killer virus. He (CM Jagan) is not learning lessons and willing to risk the health of millions of people for political gains. It is shocking," Naidu said in a statement.
Naidu was reacting to reports that the Andhra Pradesh government was considering taking South Korea as an example where the elections were held on Thursday despite epidemic threat and arrangements were being made for counting.
The former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister said that the state government is expecting to control infections through extensive testing and then to go for local body polls after May 3, when the extended lockdown ends.
Expressing concern over the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, the TDP chief accused the state government of releasing "false reports" on virus transmission, creating confusion among the people.
"The total concentration of YSRCP leaders was on getting lockdown lifted and getting local body elections held as early as possible but not on saving the lives of people," he said.
Meanwhile, Naidu has also written to the chief minister asking him not to force women's self-help groups, farmers' societies, hospital managements and trade and industry organisations to donate to the CM Relief Fund in the name of coronavirus relief.
"It was highly objectionable and atrocious on the part of YSRCP leaders to make forcible collections at a time when all sections of society were facing untold hardships like never before in this epidemic lockdown crisis. If required, the government may accept voluntary donations from those who can afford to give despite the present financial distress," he said.
Naidu also alleged that YSRCP leaders are "collecting commissions" even in the distribution of Rs 1,000 cash and groceries to the poor people. "This relief was not altogether given to the 25 lakh poor people whose ration cards were removed due to political considerations," he added.
He also alleged that YSRCP leaders are "threatening and obstructing different organisations which came forward to distribute relief" in response to the Prime Minister's call.