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"Obviously there is something serious..." Kapil Sibal on Arun Goel's resignation before LS poll

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP and Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Sunday expressed his 'surprise' over the sudden resignation of election commissioner Arun Goel ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, raising questions over the reason behind the resignation of the poll body's official.
Sibal, while speaking to ANI said that there is something "serious on the basis of which Arun Goel resigned at the cusp of an election" when he had three years remaining in his tenure.
"It surely is (surprising). If at the cusp of an election, which is just a couple of months away, you resign - obviously there is something serious on the basis of which he must have resigned. I can't possibly speculate that reason but obviously there is some element of difference of opinion, especially when his term was still not over," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
Sibal further alleged that the poll panel will be tailor-made to the interest of the ruling party as the BJP will "pack the Commission with their own people".
"They will pack the Commission with their own people as they have done in the past. Therefore, the Election schedule, the phases of the election, all aspects of the election will be tailor-made to the interest of the ruling party," he said.
The Congress veteran also said that the opposition does not have "real expectations" with the election commission.
"We have seen in the past when speeches which are violative of the Code of Conduct made by the people of BJP are not proceeded against and at the slightest deviation from the Model Code of Conduct by an Opposition member, they will be immediately given a notice. So, we know the completely partisan nature of this Commission. So, we don't have any real expectations from the Commission," he added.
Speaking to the reporters, Sibal accused the election commission of emerging as "an extended arm" of the government.
"The Constitution, which has three pillars - Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary, is the base of the democracy. The election commission's role is to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair way. However, in the last 10 years, it looks like the election commission has become an extended arm of the government," Sibal said.
Goel resigned just ahead of the anticipated announcement of the schedule for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The resignation of Goel leaves the three-member Election Commission with only one member, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, after the earlier retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey.

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