Former Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Achal Kumar Jyoti has been selected as the next Chief of the Election Commission.
He will take position as Election Commission Chief on July 6, 2017, as Naseem Zaidi’s successor, who will step down from July 4, 2017. He will be the 21st Chief of the Election Commission, and has formerly been an election commissioner. He joined the previous post in 2015. The three-member panel that comprised Jyoti, Zaidi and Om Prakash Rawat, will now be looking for the former Chief’s replacement.
A retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, from Gujarat cadre’s 1975 batch, Jyoti retired as the state’s Chief Secretary in 2013. In Gujarat, he was also secretary of water supply, revenue and industries as well. The 64-year old Jyoti, previously, was also the state’s vigilance commissioner, the Kandla Port Trust’s chairman from 1999 to 2004. He was also Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. (SSNNL) managing director.
The Chief Election Commissioner, according to the Indian Constitution, can hold the post till 65 years of age, or until he/she completes six years in office.
In a press conference, the Election Commission announced that August 5, 2017, will hold elections for Vice President. The results will be announced on the same day. July 18 has been set as the deadline for the contestants to file nominations, while July 21 is the last date for the withdrawal of candidatures.
Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner addressed the press and delivered this announcement. He said, “An election to fill the vacancy to be caused by the expiration of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President needs to be completed before the expiration of the term of the present incumbent.”
The tenure of current Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari is going to end on August 10. The electoral college comprising members of both the houses of Parliament, along with the nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, elect the Vice-President through the system of proportional representation. As of now, the electoral college has 790 members in total with 245 Rajya Sabha MPs and 545 Lok Sabha MPs. The voters are required to cast their votes with special pens. Using any other pen renders the vote invalid.
The major eligibility criteria for the post of Vice-President requires a candidate to be a citizen of India, atleast 35-years or above and should be qualified to become a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Uttar Pradesh CM and Samajwadi Party National President Akhilesh Yadav had over 200 legislators sign affidavits in his favour for the upcoming U.P elections. Amidst the show of power in the SP camp, Akhilesh claimed to have backing of no less than 214 of the party’s 229 MLAs and several office-bearers, which is pivotal if the Akhilesh faction wants to gain the party’s famous symbol, the bicycle.
Hindustan Times quoted Sunil Singh, member of legislative council as saying, “team Akhilesh is meeting EC (Election Commission) tomorrow. Affidavits are being signed, as he was seen coming out of the meeting briefly before returning to the CM’s residence.
The Election Commission announced yesterday that polls in Uttar Pradesh will be conducted in seven phases between February 11 and March 8 where SP will be seen locking horns with the BJP, BSP and Congress.
One of the CM’s close aide SP MP Naresh Agarwal claimed that Akhilesh had the support of majority of the party’s MLAs, MLCs and MPs.
On the other hand, the Mulayam camp was prepared with signed affidavits of MLAs, MLCs and MPs which the party leader planned to furnish to the EC but their number was still unknown.
Assembling at his 5 Kalidas Marg residence, Akhilesh addressed reporters and told them to buckle up for the polls in ensuring a landslide for the party.
The Election Commission of India has been granted Rs 1009 crore to purchase new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). This step has been taken to update the old machines before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The purchase will take place through Bharat Electronic Ltd (BEL), Bengaluru and Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad.
According to the Saturday’s approval,the election body has been assigned to buy 4,10,000 Ballot Units (BUs) and 3,14,000 Control Units (CUs) during 2017-18 and 4,35,306 Ballot Units and 71,716 control units during 2018-19. It will be a conjectural unit cost of Rs 7,700,and Rs 9,300 respectively. The approximate cost will be will be Rs 1,009.6 crore.
On Wednesday, The Union Cabinet has also given the poll body the authority to choose and to decide the amount to be ordered on BEL and ECIL as well. The decision should be based on their production capacity,and past performance in supply of machines. This will help Commission to manage everything. The Law Ministry stated to The Indian Express, “This would facilitate phasing out of obsolete electronic voting machines procured during 2000-2005. It will enable the Commission to replenish the stock with a view to meet the requirement of conducting General Elections to Lok Sabha and some of the state assemblies due in 2019”.
On July 20, the Union Cabinet had approved a similar proposal out by Election Commission to buy nearly 14 lakh new EVMs, the first tranche at a cost of Rs 9,200 crore during 2016-17 as well.
A report filed by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an Ahmedabad based policy research group, revealed that there has been a 150% increase in political donations in the financial year 2014-2015. The biggest gainer, according to the report is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which co-incidentally captured power at the Center during the same period.
The national parties received a sum total of Rs 622.38 crore from around 1,695 donations in the current financial year as compared to Rs 247.77 crore collected by the parties during the last fiscal year. The report based on data mandated by Election Commission of India from the political parties also divulges that the Indian National Congress received just a third of amount received by BJP.
The Nationalist Congress Party occupied the third spot in with Rs.38.8 crores received as donation and the Leftist parties of CPI(M) and CPI stood at the fourth and fifth spots with a collective donation of just Rs.4.75 crores between them. Bhujan Samaj Party (BSP), headed by Mayawati declared that it did not receive any donation above Rs.20,000 for the fiscal year, as it has been declaring every year for the last decade.
Almost 49% of the total donations came from undeclared sources with no declaration of either their name or address. While Maharashtra topped the contribution with 42% of total donation being traced to addresses in State, Satya Electrical Trust of the Sunil Mittal conglomerate Bharti Group was one of the top donor which funded 25 % of total BJP’s donation also funded 13% of Congress’s total collection, as per the ADR report.