Tirupati: Minister for panchayat raj and rural development Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, on 18 March, came down heavily on the Telugu Desam chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu and the state Election Commissioner Dr N. Ramesh Kumar.

Addressing the media at Tirupati, Mr Ramachandra Reddy said both Mr Naidu and Mr Ramesh Kumar studied at the S.V University in Tirupati and have been good friends. He said the state election commissioner had done many favours earlier for Mr Naidu and he recently transferred IAS officer Babu Rao when he was appointed election observer for Chittoor district. He also replaced another officer Sidharth Jain because he is expected to do favours for the Opposition, the minister alleged.

Earlier, the Election Commission had given the nod for the local body elections even after observing the Corona virus situation in the state. Why has the Commission now postponed the polls without discussing the issue with the state government, he asked. Mr Naidu has plotted to obstruct the development of the state by halting the local body polls and now the state will not get funds from the 14th Finance Commission, he said.

He also said the TDP contender from Punganuru in Chittoor district, Vijayalakshmi, has filed her nomination, creating a tense situation in the area. The minister also said that 856 suspected cases of Corona virus was recorded in Andhra Pradesh, out of which 150 cases have completed 28 days under home quarantine, while 586 are still under observations. Another 20 people are in isolation wards in government hospitals and only one case out of 102 samples tested was positive. Polls should have been conducted early due to the current critical situation, he lamented.

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