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PM Modi To Chair Panel On March 15 To Pick New ECs After Arun Goels Resignation: Report


New Delhi: The high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will convene on March 15 to decide on the new election commissioners, news agency PTI quoted top sources as saying. The committee, which also includes a Union minister and the Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, will select the candidates for the two vacant posts of election commissioners.

The vacancies arose after Arun Goel resigned and Anup Chandra Pandey retired from the Election Commission. The president will appoint the election commissioners based on the committee’s recommendation. The sources said the two appointments are expected to be made by March 15, as the committee was notified of Goel’s resignation on Saturday evening, after it had already sent the notice for the meeting.

The meeting was originally scheduled for March 7 to fill the post vacated by Pandey, who retired on February 14 on turning 65. Goel’s sudden resignation on Friday morning, days before the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, left Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar as the only member of the poll body.

His resignation was accepted by President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday and a notification was issued by the Union Law Ministry.

A search committee under Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, with the Home secretary and the Department of Personnel and Training secretary as members, will prepare two separate lists of five names each for the two posts. The prime minister-led selection committee will then choose two candidates from the lists.

The sources dismissed the speculation that Goel resigned due to personal reasons or differences with Kumar, saying there was no evidence of any dissent by Goel in the records of the Election Commission.

They said it was natural for experienced bureaucrats to have different opinions and perspectives on various issues, but that did not amount to disagreements.

Goel, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, had joined the Election Commission in November 2022. He would have served until December 5, 2027, and would have succeeded Kumar as the chief election commissioner after his retirement in February next year.

Ashok Lavasa had quit as election commissioner in August 2020.


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