Retired bureaucrat Arun Goel has been appointed as an Election Commissioner ahead of the crucial assembly election in Gujarat. The third post in the country's top poll body has been vacant for nearly six months.
A communique from the law ministry this evening read, "The President is pleased to appoint Shri Arun Goel, IAS (Retd.) (PB: 1985) as the Election Commissioner in the Election Commission with effect from the date he assumes the office".
A Punjab cadre officer of the 1985 batch, Mr Goel will join Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey in the poll panel.
Former Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had retired in May this year, handing charge to Rajiv Kumar. The poll panel has been a two-member body since and had to handle several crucial issues including the demands for disqualification of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
The poll panel will have its full strength when it decides the election schedule for Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Karnataka in the coming months.
Till recently, Mr Goel was the heavy industries secretary and has also served in the Union Culture ministry. He was to retire on December 31, 2022, but his voluntary retirement came into effect on November 18.
Once he takes up the post, Mr Goel will be in line to be the next Chief Election Commissioner after Rajiv Kumar demits office in February 2025.
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 the age of 65, whichever is earlier. Mr Goel will be in office till December 2027.