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Gyanesh Kumar, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu assume charge as Election Commissioners

NEW DELHI: Newly appointed election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu assumed charge on Friday.

The former bureaucrats were appointed as election commissioners on Thursday.

They are the first ones to have been appointed as members of the poll panel after the new law on the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and ECs came into force recently.

Welcoming them, CEC Rajiv Kumar spoke about the significance of their joining at a historic point when the Election Commission is all set to conduct Lok Sabha elections, a spokesperson said.

The vacancies had come up in the Election Commission after the retirement of Anup Chandra Pandey on February 14 and the sudden resignation of Arun Goel on March 8.

Who is Gyanesh Kumar?
A retired IAS officer of the 1988 batch Kerala cadre, Gyanesh Kumar has held several key positions in the government.

Before his appointment as the Election Commissioner, Kumar served as the Secretary at the Ministry of Cooperation, headed by Union Minister Amit Shah.

During his tenure, the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (MSCS) (Amendment) Act, 2023, was passed, leading to the formation of three new national cooperative bodies – Bharatiya Beej Sahakari Samiti Limited (BBSSL), National Cooperative Organics Limited (NCOL), and National Cooperative Export Limited (NCEL), according to The Indian Express.

In January 2020, Kumar was assigned to the Ayodhya desk at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). In Ayodhya, Kumar played a crucial role in establishing the Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust for the construction of the Ram Mandir.

During the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, Kumar was placed at the Jammu and Kashmir desk of the MHA and played an active role in the revoking of Kashmir’s special status.

From 2007 to 2012, when the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power, Kumar served as the joint secretary of defence production in the Defence Ministry.

Additionally, Kumar played a significant role in launching the CRCS-Sahara refund portal, which facilitated the submission of claims by genuine depositors of four Multi-State Cooperative Societies of Sahara Group.


Who is Sukhbir Singh Sandhu?
Born in 1963, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, like his fellow Election Commissioner, is a 1988 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Uttarakhand cadre.

Sandhu retired as the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand in January 2024, having been appointed in July 2021 when BJP’s Pushkar Dhami became Chief Minister.

Before his role as Chief Secretary, Sandhu served as the Chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), taking over in October 2019.

He has also previously served as Additional Secretary in the Department of Higher Education, Government of India, where he oversaw Technical Education.

Sandhu holds an MBBS degree from Government Medical College, Amritsar, and a Master’s Degree in History from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. He is also a Law Graduate.

In recognition of his services, Sandhu was conferred the President’s Medal for his role as Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation in Ludhiana, Punjab. He also received the 2001 President of India Medal for his contributions during the Census of India.




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