One post was lying vacant in the three-member commission after the tenure of former Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora ended in April. A 1984 batch IAS officer of UP cadre, Pandey has held high positions in all the governments formed in Uttar Pradesh for the last two decades. And in the year 2019, he has retired from the post of Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, for which he was specially selected by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Why is there Controversy?
Since the news of this appointment spread on social media, many people including senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan to CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Ghosh have opposed the decision.
Dipankar Ghosh wrote on his official Twitter, “Before Uttar Pradesh Election 2022, Retired UP Cadre IAS Anoop Chandra Pandey has been appointed as Election Commissioner. Three years ago Yogi Adityanath appointed Pandey as Chief Secretary (Uttar Pradesh). The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are also likely to be held under his leadership.”
Ahead of the 2022 UP elections, retired UP cadre IAS Anup Chandra Pandey is appointed Election Commissioner. Three years ago Mr Pandey was handpicked by Yogi Adityanath as UP Chief Secretary (30 June 2018 – 31 Aug 2019). 2024 LS elections will also likely be held under his watch. pic.twitter.com/IlYCmUaT7g
— Dipankar (@Dipankar_cpiml) June 9, 2021
At the same time, Prashant Bhushan has tweeted, “When our demand of the collegium for the election of the Election Commissioner is not even being heard, then the government has taken a unilateral decision and made Adityanath’s chosen person as the Election Commissioner. All regulatory bodies are being harmed.” This appointment has also been questioned by some young leaders of Congress in the opposition parties.
While our petition seeking a collegium to appoint EC was kept pending w/o hearing, Govt unilaterally appoints Adityanath’s handpicked man as EC! All regulatory institutions are being subverted by this govthttps://t.co/oETCN9qKMG
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) June 9, 2021
Question of fairness
In the indications, the question is being raised that a person close to Yogi Adityanath is being made the Election Commissioner at a time when the assembly elections are going to be held in Uttar Pradesh after a few months, what should be the meaning of this. In some tweets, people are questioning the impartiality of Anup Chandra Pandey by sharing pictures taken with Yogi Adityanath.
But the question arises whether the newly elected Election Commissioner Anoop Chandra Pandey is seen as an officer close to any party or leader. Senior journalist Ramdutt Tripathi, who understands the politics of Uttar Pradesh very closely, says that throughout his service, Dr. Anoop Chandra Pandey has been recognized as a ‘good officer’.
Shri Anup Chandra Pandey today assumed charge as the new Election Commissioner (EC) of India. Shri Pandey joins the @ECISVEEP as 2nd Election Commissioner in a three- member body headed by Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar. pic.twitter.com/ayUp6LTuBv
— CEOMPElections (@CEOMPElections) June 9, 2021
He says, “Yogi Adityanath, Mulayam Singh or Akhilesh Yadav does not pick anyone from among the people and make them chief secretary. The election is of those people who have already been elected from the Public Service Commission and have seniority.” In such a situation, it cannot be said about any Chief Secretary or Principal Secretary that he has been directly picked up by the Chief Minister or anyone else. They have a separate gradation list.
From Kalyan Singh to Yogi Government
In the bureaucracy of Uttar Pradesh, Anoop Chandra Pandey is known as an officer who has been at the top of power for the last several years. Since becoming the Director of Information in the Kalyan Singh government, he has also held important positions in the Mulayam Singh, Mayawati and Yogi governments. Along with this, he has also worked in many important positions in the Government of India.
From the work of organizing Kumbh in Prayagraj, Pandey has organized big events like UP Investors Summit in Yogi government. But despite being very close to power, Pandey is known to keep his distance from controversies.
Senior journalist Sharat Pradhan, who has a deep understanding of Lucknow’s political lanes, explains, “In Uttar Pradesh’s bureaucracy, Pandey is known as a centrist officer who does his job without creating controversy or getting into controversies. He is firm in rules and regulations and believes in working out the middle ground is known for respecting the prevailing beliefs and systems of governance. But the question arises whether Anoop Chandra Pandey will be able to prove the allegations against the Election Commission baseless by his work.
Sunita Aron, a senior journalist from Uttar Pradesh, says, “I can answer this question in just one line. He will not be the next TN Seshan. But it can be said that he is the current image of the Election Commission through his work. can improve.”
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