Vijayawada: The Election Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena to instruct the Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) to take stern action against all individuals involved in damaging Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This order was issued after Macherla MLA Pinneli Ramakrishna Reddy was caught on camera breaking an EVM at polling station 202 on May 13.

The Palnadu district election officers handed over video recordings of the incident and web recordings of all polling stations where EVM machines were damaged in seven polling booths. The police have booked MLA Pinneli Ramakrishna Reddy following the incident.
This directive from the Election Commission aims to ensure that no one dares to interfere with the peaceful conduct of polls in the future by damaging EVMs. The Palnadu district had experienced poll-related violence on the day of the election, May 13.

A video of the alleged incident involving the ruling YSRCP MLA surfaced, after which the poll panel handed over the video clips to the state police, asking them to assist in the investigation.

"YSRCP Sitting MLA Pinneli Ramakrishna Reddy was recorded on a web camera during the incident of vandalising EVMs in 7 polling centres, including PS number 202 in Macharla Assembly constituency," the chief electoral officer of Andhra Pradesh said in an official statement.

"Palnadu district election officials handed over the video footage of all such polling stations to the police to assist in the investigation into the vandalism incident. The police stated that the MLA's name has been included as an accused in the investigation," the statement added.

"The EC is taking this matter very seriously and has directed CEO Mukesh Kumar Meena to inform the DGP to take strict action against all those involved in these incidents. Therefore, the EC hopes that no one will dare to commit such misdeeds in the future to conduct the

elections peacefully," it stated further. Opposition leader and the national general secretary of the Telugu Desam Party, Nara Lokesh, alleged that the legislator from the ruling party helmed by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy resorted to destroying the EVMs fearing defeat in the elections. 

He also shared a video of the alleged incident on X. Taking to his personal X handle, Nara Lokesh posted, "YS Jagan Mohan Reddy not only killed his own uncle but also the people who voted for him and, finally, democracy itself. YCP MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy vandalised the EVM at the Palwai Gate polling centre in the Macharla Constituency." "I demand that the Election Commission take strict action against Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, who vandalised EVMs and attacked them out of fear of defeat. 

People are going to give a real verdict on YCP's factional politics on June 4," Lokesh, the son of former CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, added. Earlier, on Tuesday, an Ambedkar statue at Agraharam village in Pithapuram of Kakinada district was allegedly vandalised by unidentified persons, leading to a ruckus in the vicinity and disrupting vehicular movement. The police assured strict action against the vandals after the Dalits gathered in protest, demanding justice. The protests led to a disruption of traffic movement. 

Police personnel were deployed in large numbers and the traffic was diverted to the highway. The ruling YSRCP is contesting all 175 seats in the assembly elections, eyeing a fresh term in the House, while the TDP is fighting on 144 seats as part of a seat-sharing deal with the BJP and actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena. As part of the seat allotment, the Jana Sena is contesting 21 seats in the state and the BJP 10. Andhra Pradesh polled for the assembly as well as the Lok Sabha in a single phase on May 13. Widespread violence was reported across the state as the polling closed.

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