Election Commission transfers Khammam collector, SP

Hyderabad, April 26 (IANS) Acting swiftly on the complaints by opposition Congress ahead of a Telanagana assembly seat bypoll, the Election Commission on Tuesday transferred Khammam District Collector Lokesh Kumar and Superintendent of Police Shahnawaz Qasim.

The poll panel also transferred returning officer for Palair assembly constituency, which is going to polls on May 16.

The Election Commission issued the orders for the officials’s shifting to Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma, said functionaries in the officer of the state chief electoral officer, and asked the chief secretary to suggest three names each for the posts of the collector, the district police chief and the returning officer.

The development came hours after main opposition Congress complained that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government is misusing the official machinery.

Congress state president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy had demanded that the Election Commission ensure conduct of free and fair by-election.

A Congress delegation, led by Uttam Kumar Reddy, called on Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in New Delhi and told him that democracy in Telangana is in danger as the ruling party is demolishing the pillars of democracy and scuttling the spirit of the constitution.

“TRS is found to be indiscriminately distributing liquor and various forms of gifts. It has also have even resorted to threatening the voters and resorted to mass rigging of votes. The police in Telangana have become puppets in the hands of TRS government and the irony was that police allowed the government to use their official vehicles to transport and distribute the money during the by-elections,” he said.

The Congress also requested Zaidi to withdraw permission granted to TRS for conducting their annual plenary sessions and public meeting in Khammam on April 27. It also urged the CEC to use ballot papers or Voters Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with the EVMs.

The by-election to Palair seat was necessitated by the death of sitting legislator Ramreddy Venkatreddy of the Congress.

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