Is Naidu worried about Panchayat polls?

It looks like Telugu Desam Party supremo and Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is worried about the Panchayat elections. Though the term of the present elected bodies of the gram panchayats ended in August this year, the Chief Minister had appointed special officers to take care of the gram panchayat administration without going for the elections. Had he was prepared for elections, he would have geared up the administration on the voters’ list and reservations issue ahead of the expiry of the present bodies term and held the elections. Instead, he preferred to defer the elections and appointed the special officers.

Now that the High Court had directed the State government to hold elections in next three months, Chandrababu Naidu is understandably looking for excuses to delay the polls. He had held a brief discussion at Visakhapatnam with the senior officials, Ranjit Basha and Ramanjaneyulu from the Panchayat Raj and Rural Development departments, not on holding elections, but differ them till the Assembly elections are ahead.

He is also expected to hold consultations with the legal experts on handling the High Court decision. He is said to be finding an excuse in preparing the voters’ list and the reservation of gram panchayats and wards to hold elections. He had reportedly asked the Panchayat Raj department to give a detailed note on how long they would require to finalise the reservations of the gram sarpanch and ward members. The preparation of the voters’ list, however, is to be done by the State Election Commission, which had not taken up the task yet. The State Election Commission, though expected to keep the voters’ lists ready even ahead of the expiry of the term in August, it did not show any interest on this and might follow what the Chief Minister advises.

Though the ruling TDP is drumming up that it is not afraid of holding elections to the panchayats, six months ahead of the general elections, they are worried about the impact of these elections on the Assembly elections. It is for this reason that the TDP chief is not ready to hold the polls.

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