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Why Election Commissioner Arun Goel Resigned Weeks Before 2024 Votes
Mar 10, 2024 11:57 am

Election Commissioner Arun Goel resigned on Saturday, days before the 2024 Lok Sabha election timetable was announced. The law ministry announced that President Droupadi Murmu accepted Mr. Goel's resignation immediately. Despite government pressure, Mr. Goel resigned for "personal reasons" according to sources. Top authorities denied health concerns, saying Mr. Goel was fine. Election Commission sources said Mr. Goel and Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar have had file disagreements. The three-member Election Commission of India had a vacancy, thus only Mr. Kumar remains. Mr Goel, a retired 1985-batch Punjab IAS officer, joined the Election Commission in November 2022. Lok Sabha election dates may be revealed next week, insiders said. The timetable is now uncertain due to Mr. Goel's abrupt resignation.A law minister-led search committee with two union secretaries shortlists five CEC candidates. A selection committee led by the Prime Minister and including a Union Cabinet Minister selected by the PM, the Lok Sabha Leader of the Opposition, or the leader of the main opposition party chooses the ultimate nominee. A CEC or EC is then appointed by the President. A new law changed the appointment of top election officers late last year, leading to Mr. Goel's resignation. The revised system excludes the Chief Justice of India from selection.Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge questioned Mr. Goel's unexpected resignation on social media. He inquired if the Election Commission should be renamed "Election OMISSION" given the current situation. "Electoral Commission or OMISSION? Lok Sabha elections are coming up in a few days, yet India only has one Election Commissioner. He asked X "Why?" "As I have said earlier, if we do not stop the systematic decimation of our independent institutions, our democracy shall be usurped by dictatorship!" he said. "Since the current Election Commissioner selection process has transferred all power to the ruling party and PM, why has the new Commissioner not been appointed even 23 days after the latter's tenure? Congress president: Modi government must answer these questions and provide a logical response.Congress national secretary KC Venugopal shared Kharge's concerns. "It is deeply concerning for the health of the world's largest democracy that Election Commissioner Mr Arun Goel has resigned on the cusp of the Lok Sabha elections," said he. Mr. Venugopal worried about the government's influence on constitutional bodies, noting Ashok Lavasa's 2019 election dissent and inquiry. Mr. Lavasa resigned over model code violation decisions during the previous Lok Sabha elections. Listen to new music only on Congress leader Saket Gokhale raised concern that two poll panel appointments are being made before the general elections.