Road-roller symbol ruckus: ECI transfers Munugode returning officer

The Election Commission of India (ECI) transferred Jagannadha Rao, the returning officer for the by-election to the Munugode Assembly constituency

Election Commission

Election Commission

NALGONDA: In a major twist, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday transferred Jagannadha Rao, the returning officer for the by-election to the Munugode Assembly constituency. The ECI decision is being regarded as a punitive measure after the RO's discretion with regard to the replacement of the election symbol for the Yuga Thulasi Party candidate became controversial.

The ECI decision drew sharp criticism from the TRS with Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, its working president, registering strong objection to it.

The Election Commission of India, while transferring Jagannadha Rao, has entrusted the Munugode by-election duty to Miryalaguda Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Rohit Singh.

The ECI action followed a complaint lodged by Kolisetti Siva Kumar, the Yuga Thulasi Party candidate in the Munugode election fray. Siva Kumar alleged that the road-roller symbol, originally allotted to him, was replaced overnight with 'baby walker' on October 18 and squarely blamed returning officer Jagannadha Rao for the lapse.

In his complaint, he said that he was allotted the road-roller symbol on October 17. But to his surprise, he found the baby walker symbol against his name in the final list that was released on October 18. His accusations assumed significance in the wake of a demand by the TRS to not allow symbols like road-roller, cap, chapathi roller, which, they claimed, had striking resemblances to their car symbol.

Siva Kumar, in his complaint lodged on Wednesday, claimed that the RO remained inaccessible despite his repeated attempts to contact him. In a swift response, the ECI ordered the transfer of Jagannadha Rao and even reportedly finalised the road-roller symbol to Siva Kumar. This however needs to be confirmed as the ECI was yet to make a statement.

Meanwhile, Telangana Minister and TRS working president K T Rama Rao, in a tweet on Thursday, took serious exception to the ECI decision. He said that the latest action was proof of how the BJP had been misusing constitutional bodies for its vested political interests.

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