Several prominent intellectuals of Telangana, including Telangana Jana Samithi chief M Kodandaram, educationist Dr Chukka Ramaiah, Professor P L Visweswara Rao, Anveshi Women Studies Centre founder Professor Rama Melkote, senior journalist K Ramachandra Murthy and former MP Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, today wrote an open letter to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao expressing their concerns about the state government's decision to hold municipal elections in two corporations and five municipalities on April 30.
In their letter, they told the CM that the ongoing pandemic was wreaking havoc on the lives of the people of the state, and added that if the recent Nagarjuna Sagar by-election
was anything to go by, the upcoming local body elections would only contribute further to the spread of Covid-19 in Telangana.
"It will be undemocratic to hold the elections in the municipalities and the municipal corporations of Telangana at this point. While nothing will be lost by postponing the elections by six months or so, holding them now comes with significant risks that will threaten the safety and health of the public. These risks are ones that the state cannot currently afford to take, especially when the health infrastructure is already so overwhelmed. There is a dearth of suitable treatment facilities for Covid-19 patients already - bed and medicine shortages have had a devastating impact on the people. Further, even testing facilities are not easily available and many people are forced to wait inordinately long for their turns. In this situation, it would be best to declare a health emergency in Telangana, and to also postpone the April 30 elections," they asserted.
The authors of the letter also made clear their belief that it was an act of "cruel irresponsibility" to focus on holding the elections amid such a huge pandemic by simply citing the fact that other states had organised elections as well.
They urged the CM not to "take the lives of the people" by holding the elections as this would violate the people's fundamental right to life, guaranteed by the Indian constitution, and demanded again that the CM take steps to postpone the elections.
This is the latest in a string of similar demands - some days ago, the leaders of the BJP had written to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan
appealing to her to advise the SEC to postpone the local body elections. The Congress too has been demanding that the elections be pushed back