New Delhi, Apr 21 (ANI): Election Commissioner Navin Chawla took over as the Chief Election Commissioner today, succeeding N. Gopalaswami who retired on Monday after serving in the Commission for five years.
Power Secretary V S Sampath also took charge as the Election Commissioner following the elevation of Chawla. Dr. S Y Qureshi already holds the post of Election Commissioner.
Chawla, who was appointed Election Commissioner on May the 16, 2005, will hold charge till July 29, 2010.
The outgoing CEC was given a warm farewell by Chawla and Dr. Qureshi along with the entire staff. Gopalaswami expressed hope that the Election Commission would uphold its sanctity and achieve new heights under the able leadership of Chawla.
The 63-year-old Chawla has taken over the position in the midst of the five-phased Lok Sabha elections and will have to oversee the remaining four phases of the polls.
Chawla, an IAS officer of the 1969 batch, had recently been in the news as Gopalaswami had unilaterally recommended his removal from the Election Commission on grounds of partisanship.
The recommendation was, however, rejected by the President on March 1, 2009.
The Chief Election Commissioner, a Constitutional post, enjoys a term of six years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
Chawla has served the government of India in various capacities. He had last been the Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
He has also worked as the Secretary of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
At the time of emergency, Chawla served as the secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
Chawla has also been the proud recipient of the Mazzini Award, which was presented to him by the Italian Government for his contribution in promoting ties between India and Italy. (ANI)