Govt targets minority candidates for new EC

Following the vacancy created by the retirement of S Y Quraishi as the chief election commissioner, the government is likely to appoint another candidate from the minority community to the Election Commission.

Sources have told Millennium Post that the candidates being considered for the post include –  Salauddin Ahmed, the former chief secretary of Rajasthan; Noor Mohammad, the former secretary at the National Disaster Management Authority; Halim Khan, disinvestment secretary; Shamsher K Sherif, a secretary to the vice president; and Anwar Ehsan Ahmad, special secretary, the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Election Commission of India consists of a chief election commissioner and two election commissioners, who are appointed by the president of India. After Quraishi's retirement, V S Sampath took over as the new CEC on 11 June. H S Brahma is the other election commissioner,  while the second post is vacant, which the government needs to fill soon as assembly polls are to be held in the later part of the year.

The appointment procedure involves the extensive role of the law ministry, which prepares a panel for the prime minister to finally approve and recommend the name to the president, who eventually appoints the election commissioner. Although it is a known fact that the final call on the issue will be taken at 10, Janpath.

However, a large number of senior officials have indicated that the choice of the new election commissioner should not be based solely on religion but the most suitable person with an impeccable track record be selected for the post, irrespective of their religion.

Earlier this month, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader L K Advani had written to the prime minister raising objections about the process of appointing the Election Commission members, saying that 'the present system was vulnerable to manipulation and partisanship'.
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