Election Commissioner’s resignation deeply concerning, says opposition parties

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Election Commissioner Arun Goel resigned on Saturday, leaving the 3-member Election Commission of India with just one active member, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar. The shock move, which comes just weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, has drawn criticism from the Opposition.

The opposition parties targeted the central government after the resignation of the election commissioner Arun Goel, calling Goel’s resignation “deeply concerning”. Congress and other opposition members called upon the government to come out with a “reasonable explanation”.

Congress Chief Mallikajun Kharge took a swipe at the Centre, asking whether it was “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? As I have said earlier, if we do not stop the systematic decimation of our independent institutions, our democracy shall be usurped by dictatorship!,” Kharge said.

He alleged that the Election Commission “will now be among the last Constitutional institutions to fall”.

“Since the new process of selecting the Election Commissioners have now effectively given all the power to the ruling party and the PM, why has the new Election Commissioner not appointed even after 23 days of the completion of latter’s tenure? Modi government must answer these questions and come out with a reasonable explanation,” the Congress president said.

Trinamool Congress MP Saket Gokhale said the move was “very, very concerning”.

“In a sudden move, Election Commissioner Arun 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 government has introduced a new law where Election Commissioners will now be appointed with a majority vote of PM Modi and one minister chosen by him. Ergo, before 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Modi will now appoint two out of the three Election Commissioners after today’s resignation. This is very, very concerning,” the Trinamool leader said.

Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal alleged that there was “no transparency” in how a constitutional institution like the ECI was functioning and accused the central government of pressurising the body.

“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. There is absolutely no transparency in how a constitutional institution like the ECI has been functioning and the manner in which the government pressurises them,” Venugopal tweeted.

He added, “During the 2019 elections, Mr. 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 hell bent on destroying democratic traditions. This must be explained, and the ECI must be completely non-partisan at all times.”

It was not immediately known why Goel stepped down. The former bureaucrat from Punjab cadre had joined the Election Commission in November 2022.

Published On:

Mar 10, 2024

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