Restrain SEC from using ‘eWatch’, says plea in Andhra HC

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Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar
Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar

A lawyer has moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court to seek an order to restrain State Election Commissioner (SEC) Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar from using ‘eWatch’, an election monitoring digital app.

In his petition, advocate K Sudhakar from Prakasam district instead sought the use of ‘CVIGIL’ app of the Election Commission of India or ‘Nigha’ of the state government.

Questions have been raised as to when and how the tenders for developing ‘eWatch’ were notified.

On Wednesday, Kumar had launched ‘election watch’ or ‘eWatch’ to monitor the ongoing rural local body elections, which the State Election Commission Secretary Kannababu said was developed in-house.

Some of the categories in which people can lodge complaints include public officials involved in promotion of candidates or parties, canvassing within 100 metres of polling stations, booth capturing and election-related violence.

However, the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) leaders allege that the app has been developed to “benefit” the opposition Telugu Desam Party. They have instead launched their own app ‘Netram’ to solicit complaints from the public.

Before these two apps, the TDP was the first political party to solicit complaints from the public on election violations in the form of photographs and videos.

The TDP had set up a control room with a call centre number to receive the complaints, including on WhatsApp.

“Please take the advisories from advocates of the party’s legal cell,” said a TDP leader, aimed at helping TDP supporters contesting the elections.

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