Simultaneous polls to Andhra’s Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha seats may be over but the tussle between the Election Commission, the state’s newly appointed Chief Secretary LV Subramanyam and the caretaker TDP government continues to play out. While the Chandrababu Naidu government accuses the Election Commission and the Chief Secretary of interfering in the state’s affairs, the top bureaucrat and the EC have accused the ruling TDP of violating the Model Code of Conduct.
On Sunday, Finance Minister, Yanamala Ramakrishnudu lashed out at the Chief Secretary for interfering in the state’s finances. Calling the state’s top bureaucrat, a ‘subordinate’, the Finance Minister said Subramanyam doesn't have the right to question the cabinet's decision.
Ramakrishnudu in a press statement said, “The Chief Secretary is acting in violation of the service rules. The state economy is the responsibility of the Finance Department and as per budgetary allocations, it manages the state finances.”
This statement was made after the Chief Secretary reportedly convened a review meeting recently and questioned the government for releasing a Government Order allowing them to take a loan at a higher rate of interest. According to reports, Subramanyam also stopped the government from taking a loan of Rs 1,000 crore.
Subramanyam had raised objections to the GO being passed as the Model Code of Conduct is in place in the state. He was recently summoned by the state Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi on April 19 after Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu held a meeting with officials on Thursday to review the progress of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) and Polavaram Irrigation project which is in violation of the MCC guidelines. As per the MCC, the caretaker government can’t hold meetings with officials except for briefings during a crisis.
The tussle between the ECI and the TDP began on March 26 after the Commission issued transfer orders to former State Intelligence chief AB Venkateswara Rao, Superintendent of Police of Srikakulam Venkataratnam and Superintendent of Police Kapada Rahul Dev Sarma.
They were transferred over allegations made by opposition YSRCP of abusing their position to favour the ruling party. While then Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha initially issued transfer orders to all the three officials, the very next day, he cancelled the transfer orders of Venkateshwara Rao. This after Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu raised objections. Naidu argued that Rao had nothing to do with the conduct of elections and challenged the ECI’s order in the High Court. However, the Court did not entertain the government’s plea.
For defying the orders of the ECI, Punetha was removed and replaced by Subramanyam on April 5.
The Model Code of Conduct came into effect on March 10 when the EC announced polling dates. Andhra Pradesh went to simultaneous polls in the Assembly and Lok Sabha on April 11.