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Adhir Ranjan of the Congress calls the selection of election commissioners "rigged."

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New Delhi: Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Thursday that two retired IAS officials, Gyanesh Kumar (a Kerala cadre) and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu (an Uttarakhand cadre), had been named as election commissioners by a high-level selection committee led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The lone opposition member of the panel, Chowdhury, criticized the selection procedure for the new hires, claiming it was "fait accompli" that the applicants selected by the government would be appointed to the positions.Speaking to reporters at his house shortly after the meeting concluded on Thursday, Chowdhury voiced his disapproval of the selection procedure, alleging that he had only been provided a list of the six shortlisted candidates ten minutes prior to the start of the panel discussion.He claimed that only last night, as the opposition member, he was handed a list of 212 names to review. "You tell me if it is humanly possible for me to look through all 212 names and identify the best qualified individual among them in a single night. "It was inevitable," he remarked.

The Chief Justice of India ought to have been on the selection panel, according to Chowdhury, who also expressed confusion over the process used to narrow the list of six names.

"Had the CJI been present, the situation would have been different," he added, adding that the statute was changed to make sure the CJI was excluded from the selection procedure.As per the recently enacted legislation, the selection procedure comprises of two committees: a search committee comprising three members, headed by the Union law minister and comprising two government secretaries; and a selection committee of three members, headed by the Prime Minister and comprising a Union minister on recommendation from the PM and the opposition leader.

According to Chowdhury, the system was already rigged in favor of the government because the selection committee was made up of the prime minister, the home minister, and one opposition leader out of the six people involved in the process. Of these, three are government members and two are employed by the government.

The act requires the search committee to recommend five names to the selection committee, but the body also has the authority to choose commissioners who are not on this list.Chowdhury stated that the search committee's head, Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, has come up with these six names. As he was not involved in the shortlisting of these names, he stated that was irrelevant.After Anup Chandra Pandey retired on February 14 and Arun Goel resigned on March 8, there were two openings that Singh and Kumar filled.