Election Commissioner Arun Goel Quits. What Happens Now

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Election Commissioner Arun Goel Quits. What Happens Now

Election Commissioner Arun Goel with Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar (File Phot)

The three-member Election Commission, at the moment, has just one active member: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. Reason: the shock resignation of Election Commissioner Arun Goel on Saturday coupled with another vacancy (retirement of Anup Pandey in February).

The resignation, which has been accepted by the President, comes weeks before the Lok Sabha elections.

The Lok Sabha polls are to be held in April-May. The dates were expected to be announced sometime next week, sources had told NDTV.

It is not clear what was the provocation behind Mr Goel’s shock resignation. Mr Goel, 61, had a tenure until 2027 and was in line to replace Rajiv Kumar as the Chief Election Commissioner after the latter’s retirement next year.

Mr Goel, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, had joined the Election Commission in November 2022.

Sources have indicated there have been differences on various issues and it would be best for the Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar to explain. Top officials said Mr Goel cited personal reasons while resigning.

“The government will start the process of appointing other election commissioners,” said an official.

Late last year, the Centre enacted a law that excluded the Chief Justice of India from the process to appoint the country’s top election officers. The top poll officers are now to be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a panel comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.

Before that a search committee, consisting of the law minister and two secretaries will have to short list five names for the selection committee headed by the Prime Minister to chose from.

The top poll body was set to visit Jammu and Kashmir from Monday to Wednesday to assess when polls can be held in the Union Territory, sources had told NDTV. Sources added that the Lok Sabha poll dates were to be announced right after the completion of J&K visit.

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