Sukhbir Sandhu & Gyanesh Kumar: 10 Things To Know About Newly Appointed Election Commissioners

Sukhbir Sandhu & Gyanesh Kumar: 10 Things To Know About Newly Appointed Election Commissioners

The announcement was made weeks after the Anup Chandra Pandey retired from the position and Arun Goel resigned from his Election Commissioner post.

Vishakha SonawaneUpdated: Friday, March 15, 2024, 07:32 AM IST
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Retired IAS officers Sukhbir Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar |

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Leader of the Opposition and a member of Prime Minister Narendra-led three-member committee, on Thursday announced the appointments of retired IAS officers Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Sandhu as the new Election Commissioners. The announcement was made weeks after the Anup Chandra Pandey retired from the position and Arun Goel resigned from his Election Commissioner post.

Minutes after the meeting ended, Chowdhury informed reporters that six names were shortlisted before the panel for selection of the two ECs and the names of Sandhu and Kumar were finalised by a majority of members of the PM-led panel. The meeting was held at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg (7LKM), the residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The appointments come amid the announcement of General Elections 2024 schedule by the Election Commission in the next few days.

Chowdhury, who didn't appear to completely pleased with the appointments, insisted that the Chief Justice of India should have been part of the selection panel. He said there was no clarity on how six names were shortlisted from over 200 candidates whose profiles came before the search committee headed by Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.

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

The requirement to fill two vacancies of election commissioners came after the surprise resignation of Arun Goel on March 8 and Anup Chandra Pandey's retirement on February 14.

A brief profile of Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Sandhu below:

Who is Sukhbhir Sandhu?

- Hailing from Punjab, Sandhu is a retired IAS officer of the 1988 batch from the Uttarakhand cadre.

- He earned an MBBS degree from Government Medical College, Amritsar. Sandhu also has a Master's Degree in History from Guru Nanak Dev University and a law degree. Sandhu also published papers on 'Urban Reforms' and 'Municipal Management and Capacity Building'.

- He assumed the role of chief secretary of Uttarakhand concurrent with Pushkar Singh Dhami's appointment as chief minister in 2021. Before this, he served as the chairperson of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

- During his tenure as Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana, he was awarded with the President's Medal.

Who is Gyanesh Kumar?

- A retired IAS officer from the 1998 batch of the Kerala cadre, Kumar, served as the secretary in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

- He was appointed as Secretary in the Ministry of Cooperation in May 2022. Following this appointment, he continued to serve as the additional charge of the post of Secretary, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

- Prior to this, he held the position of Secretary at the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.

- Having completed his service tenure, Kumar retired after reaching his superannuation on January 31, 2024.

- Kumar led the Jammu and Kashmir desk at the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2019 during the abrogation of Article 370. Apart from this, he also played a pivotal role in establishing the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust.

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