To Hold or Not to Hold : Gram Panchayat Elections


                On the National Voters’ Day January 25, 2021 the Supreme Court has come out with its judgment in favour of the decisions taken by the State Election Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh regarding the conduct of Gram Panchayat elections, we would like to express our following observations. The incumbent State Election Commissioner deserves to be commended for tenaciously pursuing his mandate as a constitutional authority, without bowing before serious political pressures from the government of the day, like Mr. Seshan who has already set a fearless example. It is, at the same time, regrettable to note that some officers, belonging to the Executive arm of the State, have shown hesitation as to tactically obey the political head of the government or to follow the constitutionally-laid out institutions. As we have seen very recently, the Trump government in the USA also exposed the authoritarian ambitions of a political leader and wanted, in vain to set aside or pervert the constitutional values. In our democracy, just like in the USA, we live in a Constitution-bound governance and not a political party-led government like in China. The officer who is unable to decide his loyalty, might have gone on leave and seek a transfer. We are not expecting them to go to the extent of resigning from the job, as some courageous and conscience-led officers have been doing. A governor like Kiran Bedi would have been a source of strength to them.

 On this occasion we want to share our happiness that the Indian democracy has won once more a match and proved that we are not only the longest but also the strongest democracy.


The  Ennilkala Nigha Vedika, a common platform of some civil society organisations engaged in Election Watch’ activities for good governance, has been actively cooperating with the Election Authorities in order to ensure that each electoral process contributes to further strengthen democracy in our country by enlightening and empowering each voter in the exercise of his or her right. Beyond the electoral season, we have been observing the 25th January and the SVEEP programmes. We organise a number of activities in all the districts to spread awareness, education and to encourage peaceful participation among the voters, thanks to excellent cooperation always extended by the successive Election Authorities in the state. We have established great credibility about our objectivity with the participation of stalwarts like J.M. Lyndoh,  K.J. Rao, Justice A. Lakshmna Rao, Justice Reddeppa Reddy, K. Padmanabhaih, Prof. Chinnaya Suri, Prof. T. Thirupathi Rao, Prof. C.V. Raghavulu, E.A.S. Sarma, Kaki Madhava Rao, Dr. G.V.G. Krishnamurty, etc.

     ----Rao V.B.J. Chelikani, Chief Convenor  25th Jan’21

Image courtesy: Getty Images 

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