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Poll commissioners appointed; ECI set to announce LS poll schedule

Poll commissioners appointed; ECI set to announce LS poll schedule

With the appointment of retired bureaucrats Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as election commissioners on Thursday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is now expected to announce the 2024 national poll schedule. A section of political leaders HT spoke to said they expect the announcement by Sunday. The Model Code of Conduct will come into effect as soon as the announcement is made.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury gave a dissent note on the selection of the election commissioners. (PTI)

The election commissioners were appointed on the day ECI uploaded data on electoral bonds weeks before general elections. The Supreme Court had set Friday as the deadline for uploading the data, which showed a Tamil Nadu lottery firm and a Hyderabad infrastructure company were among the top donors to political parties between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024.

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Congress objections to the appointment process

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is a member of the Prime Minister-led selection committee, gave a dissent note on the selection of the election commissioners. He questioned the procedure. He said he was handed a shortlist of six names 10 minutes before the meeting. He said he did not have information about the background, experience, and integrity of those selected.

He said he was given a list of over 200 eligible candidates on Wednesday night. “In a single night, is it humanly possible to examine 200 names to find out the most competent person? It was fait accompli,” he said.

The government notified the names of the two commissioners hours after the selection panel meeting to enable them to take charge on Friday morning. The notification meant the full ECI was now available to announce the election schedule.

Mamata Banerjee injured

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, 69, suffered a head injury on Thursday evening, requiring four stitches at a hospital in Kolkata. Doctors said she lost a lot of blood. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who wished Banerjee a quick recovery.

Banerjee suffered a major head injury in 1990 when a Communist Party of India (Marxist) worker hit her with an iron rod in a near-fatal attack. She was hospitalized for months.

Will the Congress-SP alliance work?

The Congress, which won just one of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh in the 2019 polls, has got a generous seat-sharing deal from Samajwadi Party (SP) this time. The Congress will contest 17 seats. But will the alliance work? Congress’s alliances with the Bahujan Samaj Party in 1996 and the Samajwadi Party in 2017 did not yield favourable results .

Congress leaders hope a focus on effective coordination will lead to positive results. The Congress is trying to set up district-level coordination committees for all the 80 Lok Sabha seats. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has, meanwhile, convened meetings with his party units across the 17 Lok Sabha seats allocated to the Congress.

In Mumbai, Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is set to conclude on Sunday. Party leaders indicated that only after the yatra is over, the top leadership will discuss the candidates for the Gandhi family stronghold of Raebareli and Amethi, which Gandhi lost in 2019 polls.

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Get Current Updates on India News, Farmers Protest Live along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.” data-vars-current-url=”/india-news/poll-commissioners-appointed-eci-set-to-announce-ls-poll-schedule-101710477017303.html” data-vars-click-url=”null” data-vars-section-name=”india news”> Unveiling ‘Elections 2024: The Big Picture’, a fresh segment in HT’s talk show ‘The Interview with Kumkum Chadha’, where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch now!
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