Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh State Election Commission on Thursday annulled Telugu Desam Party’s manifesto released ahead of the gram panchayat polls scheduled from February 9. Also Read - Andhra Pradesh: TDP Leader And Former CM Chandrababu Naidu Detained

The SEC cited violation of the election body’s order, barring use of campaign material during the elections held on non-party basis as the reason behind its decision. Also Read - Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Elections 2021 Results: Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSRCP Wins 2635 Seats so Far

State Election Commissioner N Ramesh Kumar, acting on a complaint lodged by the ruling YSR Congress general secretary Lella Appi Reddy, said in an order that TDPs manifesto was a clear violation of the Commissions order issued on October 25, 2018 banning use of campaign material of any kind as the gram panchayat elections are conducted on a non-party basis. Also Read - Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Elections: 82% Voter Turnout in Second Phase, Polling Ends Peacefully

The SEC arrived at a conclusion that the manifesto with photographs published and circulated by the TDP is a ‘suggestive affiliation of political party’ in the context of Gram Panchayat elections held on ‘non-party basis’.

“It is a clear violation of the Commissions order issued on October 25, 2018 and it defeats the very purpose and object of apolitical nature of Gram Panchayat elections,” Ramesh Kumar said in Thursday’s order.

Exercising the Commission’s plenary powers under Article 243K of the Constitution, and also the Section 200 of AP Panchayat Raj Act, the Commissioner annulled the TDP manifesto and ordered its immediate withdrawal.

TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu released the manifesto, entitled Palle Pragati-Pancha Sutralu, on January 28.

The YSRC lodged a complaint with the SEC on January 29 and the TDP filed its reply to the SEC’s notice on February 2.

The TDP contended that the manifesto was only a reference document or benchmark for the public at large for what the party stands for and what it offers or promises to offer to the electorate, in particular, if its supported candidates become victorious.

The State Election Commissioner said the explanation offered by the TDP was not satisfactory, which is why it was annulled.

(With inputs from PTI)