VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday suspended the panchayat elections schedule announced by State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar. 

The court, which was hearing a petition filed by the government challenging Nimmagadda’s announcement on Friday evening to hold elections from February 5 to 17, said he has not taken the decision in an objective manner.

It said the SEC did not consider the view of the government that elections at this juncture would hamper the COVID vaccination drive, beginning January 16. The court order is a vindication of the government which in fact informed the SEC at a meeting late last week that elections are not advisable in view of the vaccination drive as the government apparatus would be completely involved in the massive exercise.

It had also informed him that elections would put the already burdened government staff and police personnel at greater risk of contracting the virus. However, the SEC disregarded the government view and announced the schedule, under which the poll process would have begun on January 23.

Following his announcement, the government moved the High Court on Saturday.

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