New Delhi, November 20
Arun Goel, a 1985-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre who took voluntary retirement from Friday, has been appointed an Election Commissioner ahead of the crucial Assembly election in Gujarat next month. He was to retire on December 31, 2022, after completing 60 years of age. Once he joins his new responsibility, Goel would be in line to be the next Chief Election Commissioner after incumbent Rajiv Kumar demits office in February 2025. He will demit office in December 2027 on attaining the age of 65 years. Goel will join Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey on the three-member panel, the third post lying vacant for nearly six months. Former Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had retired in May, handing the charge to Rajiv Kumar. Since then, the panel remained a two-member body and handled several crucial issues, including the demand for disqualification of Jharkhand CM.
Goel was, till recently, the heavy industries secretary and his voluntary retirement came into effect on November 18. He has also served in the Union Culture ministry. According to the law dealing with appointment, service conditions and retirement of election commissioners, a person can hold the office of an EC or CEC for six years or till attaining the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The poll panel will have its full strength when it decides the election schedule for Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Karnataka in the coming months.