VIJAYAWADA: Upping the ante on the Election Commission of India for turning elections in the State into a ‘farce’, Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday said he would go to Delhi on Saturday to question the election body about the ‘unfair methods it adopted’ and stage a dharna, if need be.
Chandrababu Naidu, who has already expressed his dissatisfaction over the Supreme Court’s ruling on counting of VVPATs, said he would file a review petition regarding the issue. In an apparent response to YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s confidence of his YSRC would achieve a landslide victory, Naidu claimed that there was an invisible wave in favour of the TDP.
Naidu, who cancelled his scheduled press conference on Thursday, interacted with the media on Friday and lashed out at the ECI for ‘making a mockery of democracy’ by acting as per the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
“In my 40 years of political life, I have never seen an Election Commission of India as useless as the present one. In Mangalagiri, where a Chief Minister resides, 30 per cent EVMs malfunctioned. At one point, 4,583 EVMs did not function properly. Even after all this, the ECI is talking insensitively and irresponsibly. That is why I am going to Delhi, along with as many MLAs and MPs, to confront them with these issues. This would be the last time if you think you can make a mockery of democracy. We are capable of resisting and fighting. We will restore democratic spirit,” he thundered. He also said that he would visit other States to expose how the ECI was acting at the behest of PM Modi.The TDP chief, who claims to be tech-savvy, vehemently opposed the usage of EVMs.
“The CEO himself could not vote. This reflects how EVMs function. Why should the most important part of democracy rely on machines? I myself use technology efficiently. But, should the fate of a constitutional head like Chief Minister depend on a machine or a programmer? Why should we pay the price?” he questioned.
Shooting a volley of questions, the TDP chief also asked the ECI as to how it could recruit people with no credentials to monitor EVMs. “What is the guarantee that the person who had come to repair or replace the EVM did not manipulate the machine? Can you recruit just about anybody walking on the road?” he wanted to know. He also lambasted the ECI for ‘insensitively and irresponsibly’ claiming that there was no major issue with the EVMs when at least 30 percent of them malfunctioned. He wondered why the ECI or the CEO did not adjourn polls when there was over two-hour delay at some polling stations.
The Chief Minister also accused Modi and Shah of conspiring to defeat him in the elections. “That is why they held the polls early. Last time it was held in the final phase, but now it was in the first phase. It was deliberately done so that it will give me less time and I can be defeated. Why should people suffer for what Modi and Shah have done?” he said, quickly adding, “This fight is not for me. This is for this great nation.”
Describing Jagan as an ‘economic offender’ and ‘habitual liar’, Naidu alleged that the YSRC chief connived with Modi and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao. “All the violence that happened on the election day was pre-planned and organised by Jagan. He took off to Hyderabad to plan the violence.”
Naidu displeased with CS’ appointment
Naidu expressed his displeasure with the appointment of LV Subramanyam as the Chief Secretary. “Who has been appointed as the CS by the ECI? When there was need to maintain law and order on the poll day, the CS went to meet the DGP,” he said.On his part, the CS said he was a civil servant and refused to comment further. However, he added that he met the DGP to take stock of the preparedness of the official machinery