The election code, which is in force even after the April 11, is causing squabbles among the bureaucrats in Andhra Pradesh. It all started with Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu holding review meeting with the officials. The YSR Congress had raised objections to the Chief Minister holding the reviews at a time when the election code is in force.
The model code of conduct would be in force till May 27 and the bureaucrats have a set of guidelines to follow. They are not obliged to report to the chief minister or any of the ministers during the poll code.
When the chief minister called for the review meeting on the Polavaram Project and the new capital Amaravati city, some of the officials have attended the meeting. The Election Commission, on learning about the review meetings, had re-circulated the copies of the model code of conduct to the officials, which forced the chief minister to cancel his third review meeting on law and order.
Later, the Election Commission had sent notices to the Water Resources Department and the Urban Development Department seeking clarification on the review meetings and the names of the officials who attended the meetings.
The chief secretary too had sought clarification from the officials on their presence at the review meeting. It might take a day or two for the officials to respond. But, the EC is serious on the poll code violation. The officials who are close to the chief minister and who have been working in the chief minister’s office for the past five years are upset over the EC’s notice.
These officials have been more loyal to the chief minister than the rule book. They are now unhappy with the EC move and attribute this to Chief Electoral Officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi and chief secretary L V Subrahmanyam, who are now on the other side of the CMO. The battle lines are drawn between the officers loyal to the chief minister and those strictly follow the rule book.
The fight is now on between the two camps and it is to be seen what twists and turns this fight is set to take in the days to come, before the code ends on May 27.