Top Indian Election Official Quits Before Vote

( – One of India’s election commissioners, Arun Goel, stepped down from his post just days ahead of the country’s general elections.

Droupadi Murmu, India’s president, accepted Goel’s resignation, the Ministry of Law and Justice announced in the government’s official gazette.

Goel’s resignation has triggered a wave of criticism from opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, who have accused the government of conducting “systematic decimation of independent institutions.” Opposition groups have implied that Modi and his cohorts are somehow engineering the elections to favor them.

“Election Commission or Election OMISSION? … Our democracy shall be usurped by dictatorship,” Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge warned in a tweet on Twitter / X, also saying that the ruling party has the authority to appoint Goel’s replacement.

The resignation of Goel has also left Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, the only remaining top election official, the gargantuan task of managing the biggest democratic elections in the world – unless a replacement for Goel is named quickly. India has more than 960 million registered voters. Elections are a logistical nightmare in the highly-populous nation, with the government deploying millions of police and law enforcement agents to help keep the peace.

India’s upcoming general election in May has received more global coverage of late not only due to its size, but also due to Modi’s re-election bid. If elected, the controversial prime minister of India would have his third straight term, a rarity in the world’s largest democracy. If opinion polls are any indication, Modi is expected to coast his way to another victory.

Goel has not made any public announcement regarding his resignation as of press time. Other election officials say that they have no idea why Goel decided to call it quits. Goel assumed the post in November of 2022.

India’s election commission oversees elections for parliament and state legislatures, as well as elections for the country’s president and vice president.

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