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Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar are the New Election Commissioners

Friday, March 15, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar are the New Election Commissioners

Retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and SS Sandhu were appointed as new Election Commissioners on Thursday by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to Congress party's leader in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Chowdhury, who was present at the meeting, mentioned, "In this committee, the government has the majority... One Mr Kumar from Kerala and one Mr B. Sandhu from Punjab have been selected as Election Commissioners."

He also noted that six names were considered by the panel for the selection of the two ECs. Chowdhury expressed his opinion that the Chief Justice of India should have been part of the selection panel. He raised concerns about the process of shortlisting six names from over 200 candidates, which was reportedly done by the search committee headed by the Law Minister. The final decision to appoint the election commissioners was made by the president.

The six shortlisted names were Utpal Kumar Singh, Pradeep Kumar Tripathi, Gyanesh Kumar, Indevar Pandey, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, and Sudhir Kumar Gangadhar Rahate, all former bureaucrats. Sources close to the Election Commission revealed that two election commissioners were likely to be appointed by March 15 to fill the vacancies created by the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey and the surprise resignation of Arun Goel. The meeting for the appointment was rescheduled to an earlier time following an amended communication sent to all panel members.

Arun Goel's resignation was accepted by President Droupadi Murmu, and the Union Law Ministry issued a notification to announce it. With Goel's departure, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar became the sole member of the poll body. Earlier, another EC, Ashok Lavasa, had resigned as election commissioner in August 2020. He had given dissent notes on various decisions taken by the Election Commission during the last Lok Sabha polls. With opposition parities skeptical about the appointment of new election commissioners, it has to be seen how they will conduct themselves in the coming elections.

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