On April 1, 2021, the newly appointed State Election Commissioner, Nilam Sawhney announced that the Mandal and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency Elections will be held on 8th April. This notice came as a blow for the opposition parties as the decision was taken without consulting the opinions of the opposition parties. The all-party meeting held on Friday overseen by the SEC was boycotted by the BJP and Janasena parties, while Congress walked out of the meeting. Surprisingly, the meeting was only attended by the ruling YSRCP, CPI(M), and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi. It is important to note that the announcement for the elections came before the all-party meeting was to be held. The SEC came under fire from the opposition parties, for the “undemocratic” manner of deciding the election dates and stating that the election notification was issued without taking the opposition parties into confidence.
In protest against the undemocratic proceedings taken by the SEC, TDP announced that they would boycott the rural local body elections to the second and the third tiers of ZPTC/MPTC elections. while the BJP has taken a step against the SEC to the state High Court challenging the notification. TDP Chief N. Chandrababu Naidu questioned the integrity of the conduct of the elections, mentioning that “the SEC has been reduced to a mere rubber stamp of the ruling YSRCP government”. Earlier, the notification for conducting MPTC and ZPTC elections saw legal tussles between then SEC Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government.
As a defense, Sawhney stated that the elections had already been put on hold for a long time and it does not make any sense to hold them further. Scheduling the elections without consulting the opposition parties and not providing sufficient time for preparation, the SEC showed a clear bias towards the ruling party. Nilam Sawhney was the former principal advisor and one of the most trusted associates of Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy. It is widely known that Sawhney has had close associations with the ruling government, despite facing challenges from the High Court.