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India appoints two election commissioners

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Former bureaucrats Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar have been named as the new election commissioners by a panel chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a committee member and Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Thursday.

Addressing reporters at his residence soon after the meeting ended, Chowdhury said six names came up before the panel for the selection of the two ECs and the names of Sandhu and Kumar were finalised by a majority of members of the high-powered panel.

He, however, said the Chief Justice of India should have been part of the selection panel and there was no clarity on how six names were shortlisted from over 200 candidates that are said to have come before the search committee headed by the Law Minister.

The six names shortlisted were: Utpal Kumar Singh, Pradeep Kumar Tripathi, Gyanesh Kumar, Indevar Pandey, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, and Sudhir Kumar Gangadhar Rahate, all former bureaucrats.

“Of the six names, the names of Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu were finalised for appointment as election commissioners,” he said.

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During his tenure in the home ministry, Gyanesh Kumar oversaw the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and the state was downgraded to a union territory status.

The vacancies had come up after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey on February 14 and the sudden resignation of Arun Goel. (PTI)

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