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Did Arun Goel resign as EC due to differences with CEC or Modi govt: Congress

New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) A day after Arun Goel resigned as election commissioner, the Congress on Sunday asked whether he did so due to any differences with the chief election commissioner or the Narendra Modi government.

New Delhi, Mar 10 (PTI) A day after Arun Goel resigned as election commissioner, the Congress on Sunday asked whether he did so due to any differences with the chief election commissioner or the Narendra Modi government.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh asked whether Goel resigned over personal reasons as cited by him in his resignation letter or to contest the Lok Sabha polls on a BJP ticket like former Calcutta High Court judge Abhijit Gangopadhyay.

'The resignation of Arun Goel as Election Commissioner last evening raises three questions.

'Did he actually resign over differences with the Chief Election Commissioner or with the Modi Government, which does the front-seat driving for all supposedly independent institutions? Or did he resign for personal reasons?  Or did he, like the Calcutta High Court Judge a few days back, resign to contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls on a BJP ticket,' Ramesh asked in a post on X.

The Congress leader said the Election Commission has for eight months now refused to meet with INDIA parties on the issue of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) that is so very essential to prevent 'electronic voting manipulation'.

'Each passing day in Modi's India deals an added blow to democracy and democratic institutions,' he also said.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, however, did not elaborate much when asked about Goel's resignation and said one has to wait to see what he does in the coming days.

'I was thinking that after the high court judge resigned and joined the BJP the next day and started abusing the TMC. It shows that the BJP has appointed people with such mindset. Now the election commissioner has resigned, let us wait for some time to see what he does,' he said when asked about Goel's resignation.

Goel resigned on Saturday, days before the expected announcement of the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

His tenure was till December 5, 2027, and he would have become Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) after incumbent Rajiv Kumar retired in February next year.

According to a Law Ministry notification, Goel's resignation has been accepted by President Droupadi Murmu with effect from Saturday. It was not immediately known why he stepped down.

Goel was a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre. He joined the Election Commission in November 2022.

Following the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey in February and Goel's resignation, the three-member EC now has only one member -- CEC Rajiv Kumar. PTI SKC SMN

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