Two new Election Commissioners appointed by panel led by PM Modi

A panel consisting of the PM, Home Minister Amit Shah and opposition leader Adhir Ranjan Choudhary appointed two new election commissioners today.
Two new Election Commissioners appointed by panel led by PM Modi

Former civil servants Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar have been picked for the two open positions in the top panel of the Election Commission of India, said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, a leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, during a media briefing today.

Mr. Chowdhury was part of the committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that selected two Election Commissioners to support Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar as the poll body prepares for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. Besides the Prime Minister and Mr. Chowdhury, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also on the panel.

The Congress leader criticized the government for replacing the Chief Justice of India with a Union Minister on the selection committee. "The Chief Justice of India should have been on this committee," he said, noting that the law enacted last year had turned the meeting into a mere "formality." "The government dominates the panel. Whatever they want, they get."

Mr. Chowdhury mentioned that he received 212 names for review last night. "I requested a shortlist to examine the candidates. However, I didn't receive that opportunity. I arrived in Delhi at midnight, and the meeting was at noon today. They gave me 212 names; it's impossible to assess so many candidates in a day. Ten minutes before the meeting, I was provided with a shortlist of 6 names," he explained.

"It was predetermined that the chosen two would be selected. Nonetheless, I attempted to intervene in an appropriate manner to strengthen the institution. That's why I requested a shortlist before arriving in Delhi. They gave me a list of all candidates, totaling 212. Now, you can imagine if it's humanly possible for me to assess 212 names in a single night and identify the most qualified person among them," he added.

The Congress leader stated that he submitted a dissent note, questioning the selection procedure.

Mr. Chowdhury also mentioned Arun Goel's resignation as Election Commissioner, which has sparked controversy. "When Mr. Goel was appointed, the Supreme Court remarked on the 'lightning speed.' He came quickly and left even quicker," he remarked.