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Arun Goel Resigns as Election Commissioner Ahead of Lok Sabha Polls

arun goel

In a surprising turn of events, Election Commissioner Arun Goel has tendered his resignation just days before the anticipated announcement of the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Goel’s decision has left the Election Commission in a precarious position, reducing the poll panel to a single-member body with Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar as the sole remaining member.

The Unexpected Resignation of Arun Goel

Shortly before the Election Commission was set to declare the Lok Sabha general elections, Arun Goel, an election commissioner, submitted his resignation. The move caught many by surprise, especially given the absence of an official reason for his departure. President Droupadi Murmu approved the resignation, leaving the commission with only one active member.

Goel’s term was originally scheduled to continue until December 2027, and he was next in line to become the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). His sudden resignation has raised eyebrows and speculation about the reasons behind it. Notably, a copy of the resignation was not shared with CEC Kumar.

Controversies Surrounding Arun Goel

Arun Goel’s appointment as an election commissioner was mired in controversy from the beginning. It occurred just 24 hours after he took voluntary retirement from the government. The appointment faced legal challenges, both as part of a plea seeking an independent mechanism for appointing CEC and election commissioners and through a separate petition filed by senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan. While the constitution bench refrained from commenting on the merits of Goel’s appointment, it ultimately dismissed the petition.

Goel’s record as a bureaucrat also reveals a history of short-lived tenures, including his roles as DDA vice-chairman and secretary of culture. His decision to step down as an election commissioner remains shrouded in mystery, leaving many wondering about the underlying factors.

The Constitutional Framework

Article 324 of the Indian Constitution outlines the composition of the Election Commission. It states, “The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix.” While the provision allows for a single-member Election Commission, the panel has not functioned as such since 1993, except for a brief interval in 2015.

As the nation gears up for the Lok Sabha polls, the sudden resignation of Arun Goel adds an unexpected twist to the electoral landscape. The government is expected to move swiftly to fill the vacancies left by the departure of two election commissioners, including Goel and the recently retired Anup Chandra Pandey.

The Election Commission’s responsibility remains critical, and all eyes are now on how the remaining member, CEC Rajiv Kumar, will navigate the upcoming electoral process. As the countdown to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections begins, the nation awaits further developments and clarifications regarding Arun Goel’s resignation.

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