Amid the controversy over the appointment of the State Election Commissioner (SEC) in Andhra Pradesh, the ruling YSR Congress Party on Tuesday released videotapes of a secret meeting between BJP leaders and SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, who was recently reinstated to the post by the Andhra High Court.
The tapes show Kumar lounging with two senior political leaders at a private hotel in Hyderabad.
The tapes show former Union Minister from TDP Rajya Sabha MP, YS Chowdary, who recently joined the BJP, and former state Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas entering the same room where Kumar was staying on the eighth floor of Park Hyatt Hotel on June 13.
“There was no wrong in that. It was a casual meeting,” said Chowdary. “I don’t know why YSRCP leaders are trying to create a controversy with meaningless videotapes. The SEC is not a criminal and there is no rule that we should not meet him. Being close friends, we can meet whenever we want and wherever we want.”
The opposition has raised objections since Kumar, who was accused of favoring the TDP during the local body elections, is expected to maintain a neutral stance and keep away from active politics.
Kumar was earlier sacked by the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government and took over his post again last month after the court struck down an ordinance to sack him.
The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government had issued an ordinance on April 10 to sack Ramesh Kumar following a row over the postponement of local body elections.
Within hours of the sacking, the government had appointed Justice V. Kanagaraj (retd) as the new SEC. Kanagaraj, 75, took charge as SEC on April 11.
The ordinance had brought down the term of SEC from five years to three years, thus abruptly ending the term of Ramesh Kumar who was appointed in 2016.
The ordinance had also changed the eligibility for SEC post. According to it, the Governor on state government recommendation shall appoint a person who has held an office of High Court judge as SEC.
Kumar had strained relations with Reddy who had personally met the Governor to complain against him on March 14, hours after the SEC postponed the elections to rural and urban local bodies were cheduled on March 21 and 23 respectively.