VISAKHAPATNAM: Legislative Assembly speaker Tammineni Seetharam called for a referendum on conduct of gram panchayat polls in the state if need be.
Addressing mediapersons on Saturday, he slammed state election commissioner N. Ramesh Kumar for going ahead with the polls even as the state government had been expressing its difficulty because the dates clash with the vaccination programme and employees are seeking protection.
He asked whether the election commissioner was aware of Article 21 which provides the right to life to the citizens and expressed concern that the decision would affect people. He urged the SEC to re-think on the issue. He called for a referendum to find out the opinion of the people on polls at this critical juncture.
Referring to the provisions in the Constitution, he said that nowhere was it written to conduct polls even if it would jeopardise the lives of the people and added that NGOs had boycotted election duty while police would also join them. He wondered how the SEC could conduct elections if the employees and the people revolt against it.
The Speaker flayed the SEC for failing to conduct polls though they were to be held in 2018. He also found fault with the election commissioner for failing to consider the opinion of the Chief Secretary and asked him whether it was not a violation of judgement delivered by the judiciary. He wanted to know about who would take responsibility in case there was spread of Coronavirus during elections.