India’s Election Commissioner Quits Before Parliamentary Poll

India’s Election Commissioner Quits Before Parliamentary Poll

NEW DELHI, March 10 (Bernama) — One of India’s top election officials has resigned ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections that are due before May. The reason for election commissioner Arun Goel’s sudden resignation on Saturday was not immediately known.

His resignation in the midst of election preparations has shocked many and left the Election Commission, a constitutional body, with only chief election commissioner, Rajiv Kumar. The poll panel customarily has three members and takes decisions by majority vote.

Anup Chandra Pandey, an election commissioner, retired at the age of 65 in February, creating a vacancy in the commission. Goel became election commissioner in November 2022 and was not due to retire before December 2027.

Taking a jibe at the development, the main opposition Congress party’s president Mallikarjun Kharge asked in a social media post: “Election Commission or Election OMISSION?”

He wondered why India now has only one election commissioner even as the lower house Lok Sabha elections “are to be announced in a few days”.

Election commission members are appointed by the president on the recommendation of a committee of three people comprising the prime minister, one federal minister and the leader of the opposition in the lower house of Parliament, according to a new law approved last year.

With more than 960 million voters, parliamentary elections are a mammoth exercise in India and involve the deployment of millions of police and security personnel and civilian staff.

Speculation is rife in political circles as to who will fill the vacant poll panel posts and whether the process will be without controversy.

Even before the announcement of election dates, many parties have released partial lists of candidates to fight what is expected to be a high-stakes political battle in the world’s most populous country.


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