YCP forcing unanimous elections with hidden agenda:Naidu

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Panchayat Raj Minister should be sacked
YCP Ministers, leaders behaving like rowdies and hooligans
Villagers should fight united battles for self-rule
TDP chief releases ‘panchayat polls’ manifesto

AMARAVATI: TDP National President and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday slammed the YCP Ministers, MLAs and party leaders for resorting to ‘intimidation and physical attacks’ in order to force the residents of grama panchayats to accept unanimous elections in the State.

Mr. Naidu said that the ruling YCP leaders had a hidden agenda behind their so-called call for ‘unanimous elections’. But the TDP was giving a call for leaving the choice of electing the panchayat sarpanches to the villagers themselves so that efficient leaders would be elected for bringing real development in their villages. The Panchayat Raj Minister should be sacked for his unconstitutional remarks against the election process and the State Election Commission.

Addressing a press conference here, the TDP said that the YCP Ministers and leaders were behaving like rowdies and hooligans with a view to getting their party activists elected in the panchayat polls in the name of ‘unanimous elections’. The general public should strongly oppose this considering the threat to the concept of local self-government. The YCP misused the idea of unanimous elections and used threats and physical attacks to illegally grab an alarming number of seats in the MPTC and ZPTC polls that were held in March last year.

Mr. Naidu showed videos of how the ruling party leaders and their henchmen resorted to the murder attempt on the TDP MLC and ex MLA in Macherla and how the nomination papers were snatched away forcefully from rival candidates. The YCP committed ‘murder of democracy’ in the MPTC, ZPTC elections. Only 270 out of 1,092 MPTCs were unanimous in 2014, which was just 2.67 per cent. But in 2020 March, over 2,248 out of 9,696 MPTCs were unanimous which was an unbelievable 23 per cent. Also, only one ZPTC out of 652 seats was unanimous in 2014 which was just 1.15 percent. Whereas, in 2020, over 125 out of 652 ZPTCs were unanimous which was a whopping 19 percent.

The TDP chief demanded the Chief Minister to explain whether their party won so many unanimous seats with the support of the election machinery and the police but not that of the public. The Kadapa district was witness to serious election offences where the YCP won 386 MPTCs unanimous in 2020 as against just 8 in 2014. The YCP resorted to a total of 2,274 election offences in March, 2020, which included 1,085 threats and 341 inducements. In the past 20 months, the ruling party did not develop any facilities in the villages but its Ministers were now shamelessly urging for ‘unanimous elections’. The TDP laid 25,194 kms long roads in 2014-`19 while just 296 kms roads were laid under the Jagan rule till now.

Accusing the YCP of having no right to seek votes of villagers, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said that not a single farm pond was constructed under the YCP rule while the TDP dug up 6.15 lakh ponds. Over 20 lakh LED bulbs were fixed at that time but now not a single replacement was made for failed bulbs. Also, the TDP constructed 22.51 lakh toilets and declared 5,948 villages as open defecation free (ODF) villages. The Jagan regime has not paid any attention to such facilities in rural areas. The ruling party has dared to neglect villages just because they were wrongly confident of winning the panchayat polls by using force and intimidation and devious methods like ‘forced unanimous elections’.
Mr. Naidu made a specific attack on Panchayat Raj Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, accusing him of carrying out election offences openly in Tamballapalli and Punganur in the Minister’s own assembly segment. How could 71 MPTCs be announced unanimously if the YCP did not use force in Tamballapalli? In Punganur, 69 MPTCs were declared unanimous. Also, 6 ZPTCs each were declared unanimous in Punganur and Tamballapalli.

The TDP would strongly such wrong unanimous elections as it would be a big setback to creating effective and efficient leadership in the villages.
The TDP chief released the party manifesto ‘Palle Pragathi – Pancha Sutralu’ (Village Growth – Five Plans) for the panchayat polls 2021 when he gave a call for all the panchayats to elect his party-supported candidates for achieving better and cleaner villages. The YCP’s argument that these were partyless elections was wrong. The political influence would be there in every aspect of life. The panchayat elections would be indirect in nature but the candidates would be getting support from one party or another.
Mr. Naidu said that the TDP’s five plans for village future development would focus on protected drinking water, safety assurance, model villages, self-sufficiency and citizen services with reduction in property tax. Each of the 15,000 panchayats would get Rs. 70 lakh to Rs. 80 lakh funds under the NREGS scheme directly from the Centre. Also, Finance Commission funds were also being directly given to the villages. If the villagers would elect efficient leaders in these elections, all these funds would be used in an effective manner for their overall development. The YCP has even diverted NREGS funds and started harassing the sarpanches who carried out works.
Stating that the Pulivendula type one-sided polls would not be allowed in rest of the State, Mr. Naidu said that the ruling party stopped attacks on the temples and gods’ idols only after he visited the Ramatheertham Ramalayam. Prior to that, over 124 incidents took place. After the TDP exposed the conspiracy behind the Ramatheertham attack, the ruling party had learnt its lesson and withdrew its attacks.