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Appointment of new Punjab DGP awaits approval from Rahul Gandhi, caste equations to play role in the final selection: Report

The list of possible candidates for the new Punjab DGP has been sent to Rahul Gandhi for final approval.

As per reports, the appointment of the new Director-General of Police in Punjab is awaiting approval from Congress High Command. Tribune reported that the newly elected Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Channi and other senior Congress leaders had a marathon meeting to select the new DGP. The list of possible candidates has been sent to Rahul Gandhi for final approval.

Sources told Tribune that CM has favoured 1988 batch officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota. However, his appointment may get clouded by the caste equations. Sahota comes from the Scheduled Caste community. IAS Hussal Lal, a Dalit official, has already been appointed as the principal secretary to the CM, who himself belong to the Dalit Sikh community. As Congress wants to have some balance in the caste equation, the selection of DGP is not going to be easy for the Punjab government.

Other possible names that came forward are 1986 batch IPS officer Sidharth Chattopadhyaya and 1987 batch officer VK Bhawra. These officers, along with Sahota, have over six months left for the service that made them eligible for the post. CM Channi met Chattopadhyaya on Tuesday. Both Chattopadhyaya and Sahota have high chances as while Chattopadhyaya is close to the new political group holding power in Punjab. At the same time, Sahota faced almost negligible opposition during the meeting, the sources revealed.

Another catch in the appointment of the DGP is that the process has to go through the Union Public Service Commission. Notably, the West Bengal government has appointed DGP Madan Malviya till the UPSC clears the panel of officers. The Punjab government may take the same path and change DGP on its own while UPSC clears the names of the officers.

Notably, in 2018 the Supreme Court had laid down a process to appoint the DGP of a state. As per the order, the state government would send names of five or more officers to UPSC three months before the retirement of the DGP. Earlier, the officer had to have two years left in service to become eligible for the post of DGP that was reduced to six months by the Supreme Court in 2019.

Different lobbies are weighing in for their favourite name as DGP, the ball is in Rahul Gandhi’s court to finalize the name. Sources believe that the name will be finalized by Wednesday night.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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