LS Polls 2024: Opposition Slams Centre For Goel’s Resignation, Says Govt Doesn’t Want Fair Election  - Vibes Of India

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LS Polls 2024: Opposition Slams Centre For Goel’s Resignation, Says Govt Doesn’t Want Fair Election 

| Updated: March 10, 2024 14:28

Election Commissioner Arun Goel’s resignation just days before the expected announcement of the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, has sent shockwaves within the political circles.   

The opposition parties targeted the central government calling Goel’s resignation “deeply concerning”. Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal slammed the Centre and said that the government is uninterested in ensuring a transparent and impartial electoral process. 

 “This is quite shocking; just before the declaration of elections, the Election Commissioner has resigned. Now, only one Election Commissioner is there… What is happening in this Election Commission? The entire country is anxious. The government of India doesn’t want a free and fair election,” said Venugopal. 

“Earlier, they removed the Chief Justice of India from the selection body of the Election Commission and Election Commissioner. In place of CJI, they included a cabinet minister… now it has become a government affair… transparency has been lost in this process,” he added. 

In a post on X, he wrote, “During the 2019 elections,  Ashok Lavasa had dissented against a clean chit to the PM for violating the Model Code of Conduct. Later, he faced relentless inquiries. This attitude shows the regime is hellbent on destroying democratic traditions.” 

 “Election Commission or Election OMISSION? India now has only one Election Commissioner, even as Lok Sabha elections are to be announced in few days. Why?” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said in a post on X. 

 “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. 

 Meanwhile, TMC MP Saket Gokhale said that the resignation of Goel is ‘very very concerning’. 

 In a post on X, Gokhale wrote, “In a sudden move,  Goel has abruptly resigned. The post of the other EC is vacant. That leaves the Election Commission now with just one Chief Election Commissioner. Modi Govt has introduced a new law where Election Commissioners will now be appointed with a majority vote of PM Modi & 1 Minister chosen by him.  This is VERY VERY concerning.” 

 Arun Goel assumed charge as Election Commissioner (EC) of India on November 21, 2022. He has also worked as Secretary, the Ministry of Culture; Vice-Chairman, the Delhi Development Authority; Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor, the Ministry of Labour and Employment; and Joint Secretary, the Department of Revenue, and Ministry of Finance. The Lok Sabha polls are slated to be held in April-May this year. 

 Mahua Moitra in a post on X, wrote, “Why does EC Arun Goel resign right after ECI’s poll review meeting in Kolkata where he left abruptly? Apparently disagreed with Delhi’s diktat on num of phases & excessive force deployment. Will now be replaced by a hand-picked, yes man.” 

Earlier in the day, Venugopal raised concerns over Election Commissioner Goel’s resignation, stating, “ It is deeply concerning for the health of the world’s largest democracy that Election Commissioner Arun Goel has resigned on the cusp of the Lok Sabha elections.” 

Srinivas BV, National President of Indian Youth Congress, wrote, “Just before the Lok Sabha elections: Country’s Election Commissioner Arun Goel Resignation, is it a common occurrence?? There is already a vacancy in the post of one Election Commissioner in the country, and now another post has also become vacant. Meaning, now Modi ji himself will decide who will be the next two ‘Anil Masih’ of the Election Commission!!” 

Meanwhile, Sanjeev Gupta, IAS 1985 batch, wrote on X, “A resignation of Election Commissioner as fast as the appointment of Arun Goel (on a single da November 18, 2022). Raises serious questions about independence of Election Commission of India, Spokesperson ECI. All of us batchmates are simply wonderstruck at what’s happening. No response from him.” 

Arun Goel, who had tenure until December 5, 2027, and was in line to become the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) after the retirement of Rajiv Kumar in February of the following year, tendered his resignation. The President, Droupadi Murmu, accepted his resignation with effect from Saturday, as per a notification from the law ministry. The reason behind his resignation is not immediately apparent. 

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

With the retirements of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and Goel’s resignation, the three-member EC is now reduced to only one member: CEC Rajiv Kumar. 

Under the new law governing the appointment of CEC and ECs, a search committee chaired by the law minister, along with two union secretaries, will shortlist five names for consideration. 

Following the resignation of Arun Goel, the selection process for filling the vacant positions within the Election Commission involves a committee chaired by the Prime Minister. This committee includes a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the leader of the single-largest opposition party in the House. The committee selects one name, and the appointed CEC or EC is then officially appointed by the President. 

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