Amaravati: The Election Commission on Monday granted conditional permission for the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct a Cabinet meet on Tuesday to discuss relief measures following the damage caused by Cyclone Fani recently, among others.
The Cabinet will discuss relief measures related to ‘Fani’, drinking water supply situation in the State, seasonal conditions, including drought, and employment situation, including MGNREGP, official sources said. While granting permission for the Cabinet meeting, the ECI, in a communique, said, “ECI has no objection regarding convening of meeting of Council of Ministers, subject to conditions that any new decisions or revision of rates or any outstanding payment will require permission of the Commission before implementation.
It also said no media announcement of enhancement of rates should be done in the meeting. Accordingly, the Cabinet meeting would now be held at 3 pm in the Secretariat on Tuesday, official sources said. As there was a wide gap between the polling day and the (vote) counting date, the Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu sought to conduct regular official meetings. The ECI, however, asserted that the model code of conduct would remain in place till the completion of poll process (May 29) and, as such, no official meetings could be held without prior consent.
Naidu had accused the Election Commission of usurping the powers of his government and preventing it from discharging its duties.
In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora late last month, he said the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Andhra Pradesh had reportedly told the media that the chief minister does not have the power to conduct review meetings as the model code of conduct is in force.
Cyclone Fani, which hit Odisha on May 3, triggered heavy rains in coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh besides uprooting 10,000 coconut trees and destroying agriculture and horticulture crops.
The Election Commission had relaxed the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts to carry out relief works.