Monday, Oct 03, 2022
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Election Commission

Whistling For A Ref

At a time when most parties are in election mode, the government plays around with the CEC appointment

Whistling For A Ref
illustration by Jayachandran
Whistling For A Ref
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The expected elevation of Krishnamurthy to CEC—by virtue of being the seniormost Election Commissioner—following present incumbent J.M. Lyngdoh's retirement on February 7 was taken as a given. This, because ever since the EC became a multi-member body in the mid-'90s, the government has been promoting the seniormost member as the CEC. It began when M.S. Gill took over from T.N. Seshan in 1996 and when Lyngdoh succeeded him in 2001.

But when a coterie within the NDA sought to give 'tradition' a go-by and project an alternative in the form of Prasad, currently a member of the 12th Finance Commission, it raised an alarm. The government's apparent reasoning: since the post of the CEC was a constitutional one, coming under the administrative jurisdiction of the prime minister, he should be given a free hand to select an 'appropriate' candidate. Not only that, Prasad's candidature reportedly had the backing of deputy PM L.K. Advani and finance minister Jaswant Singh. Bolstering their case, law ministry officials have argued that the elevation of the seniormost EC for the top job had no "statutory value".

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