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Ex-bureaucrat who oversaw Article 370 abrogation picked as new EC

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: March 14, 2024 21:34 IST
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Former Indian Administrative Service officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu were on Thursday appointed as election commissioners, ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls.

IMAGE: A view of the Election Commission's office in New Delhi. Photograph: ANI Photo

The law ministry issued a notification announcing the appointments.


A selection committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met earlier in the day to recommend their names.

The vacancies had come up in the Election Commission after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey on February 14 and the sudden resignation of Arun Goel on March 8.

The poll panel is headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar.

Kumar and Sandhu, both 1988-batch Indian Administrative Service officers, belonged to the Kerala and Uttarakhand cadres, respectively, and are likely to assume office on Friday.

The 2024 general elections for the Lok Sabha, along with four state assemblies, are expected in April-May amid indications that the EC may announce these polls as early as this Friday.

Earlier in the day, at the selection panel meeting chaired by the prime minister, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury gave a dissent note, raising questions over the procedure adopted to choose the election commissioners.

The selection committee has one Union minister -- Home Minister Amit Shah -- as nominated by the government and the leader of the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha as members.

During his tenure in the home ministry, Kumar oversaw the abrogation of the Constitution's Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

In 2014, as the resident commissioner of Kerala in Delhi, he was deputed by the state government to evacuate 46 nurses stuck in Erbil in war-torn Iraq.

The operation was successful with the evacuation of 183 Indians, 70 from Kerala, from Iraq. Kumar, an IIT-Kanpur graduate, is a postgraduate in economics from Harvard University.

Sandhu, a former chief secretary of Uttarakhand, is learnt to have overseen the ideation for the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code in the state.

He is an MBBS from the Amritsar Medical College and also has a master's degree in history.

He was also closely involved in the reconstruction efforts of the Kedarnath temple premises.

Sandhu retired as the chief secretary of Uttarakhand in January, after a six-month extension in service.

He was appointed to the post in 2021, after Pushkar Singh Dhami was appointed the chief minister of the state ahead of the 2022 assembly elections.

Last month, Sandhu was appointed as secretary, Lokpal, with a tenure of one year.

He has served as the chairman of the National Highways Authority of India and additional secretary in the higher education of the central government.

Sandhu did his MBBS from the Government Medical College, Amritsar, and also has a master's degree in history from the Amritsar-based Guru Nanak Dev University.

He has published papers on 'Urban Reforms' and 'Municipal Management and Capacity Building'. He was conferred the President's Medal in recognition of his services as commissioner, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, Punjab

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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