TDP announces boycott of Andhra local polls


Andhra Pradesh’s opposition Telugu Desam Party on Friday announced its decision to boycott the upcoming Zilla and Mandal Parishad polls, with party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu expressing doubts over them being held in a free and fair manner.

Interacting with the media at Mangalagiri following the party’s politbureau meet, Naidu, who is also the former Chief Minister, objected to the election notification being issued in haste by the newly-appointed State Election Commissioner Neelam Sahni, who took over charge on Thursday and issued the election notification the same evening.

“The SEC has been reduced to a mere rubber stamp in the Parishad polls,” Naidu alleged.

The TDP has been asking for a fresh notification of local body elections on account of the Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll.

Noting that the SEC was to announce the polls after taking the opinion of all political parties, he said it had announced the dates on its own. “I don’t think these polls will be held freely and fairly. Therefore the party has decided not to participate in these polls,” Naidu said.

On Thursday, the SEC announced that the ZPTC and MPTC polls would be held on April 8, and results declared on April 10. The polls, originally scheduled to be held in 2020, were put on hold by then SEC Ramesh Kumar, citing the Covid pandemic.

The BJP and Jana Sena parties also boycotted Friday’s all-party meet convened by the SEC.