The reported remarks of Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu against Chief Secretary L V Subramanyam and the former’s tug of war with Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gopal Krishna Dwivedi in the last couple of days are snowballing into a major controversy.
On Saturday, a group of 13 retired IAS officers shot off a letter to Naidu urging him to withdraw his comments and apologise for the same. They also urged Naidu to avoid making such comments in the future.
Finding fault with the Election Commission for transferring Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha and replacing him with L V Subramanyam, the Chief Minister alleged that the EC appointed an officer, who was co-accused in a case along with YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Naidu also called on CEO Gopal Krishna Dwivedi in his office a day before the elections and reportedly entered into an argument with him over the transfer of officials as per EC’s directions without verifying facts.
Taking serious note of Naidu’s comments, the retired IAS officers rallied behind Subramanyam and described the latter as an “outstanding officer.” “It is unfortunate that the CM is referring to him as an accused even after the cases have been quashed by the High Court,’’ they said.
Similarly, the retired bureaucrats also found fault with the manner in which the Chief Minister spoke to the CEO to “intimidate” him, which they said is “not in the best tradition of administration.” They demanded that Chief Minister desist from such action in the future.
The letter was released by 13 retired IAS officers of United AP, Telangana and AP cadre comprising Sripada Bhalerao, KV Rao, T S Appa Rao, A K Parida, S K Sinha, Sutirtha Bhattacharya, Vidya Sagar, M G Gopal, CVSK Sharma, Vinod K Agarwal, Jatish Chandra Mohanty, Dr Vijay Kumar and IYR Krishna Rao.
Former secretary to the Govt of India E A S Sarma also wrote a letter to the CEC stating that Naidu went to the extent of belittling the ECI-appointed Chief Secretary by calling him a “co-accused” and someone who worked as a “covert agent.” “The comments defamed Subramanyam and intimidated all those civil servants acting under the directions of the poll panel when MCC is in force,’’ he said.
“The comments made by Chandrababu Naidu are derogatory, detrimental to the authority of the ECI and hurting the morale of the civil servants at all levels working as a part of the election process. Such comments tend to belittle the democratic traditions of the country and demean the authority of the Commission which is acting in pursuance of the authority conferred on it by Article 324 of the Constitution,” he said.
He urged the ECI to initiate cases against Naidu, after ascertaining the contents of his reported statements, under the relevant provisions of the Representation of People Act and the Indian Penal Code, especially those provisions that relate to criminal defamation.
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