New Delhi: Sushil Chandra has been appointed as the new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) by President Ram Nath Kovind, in line with the convention to appoint the senior-most election commissioner as the CEC.
Sushil Chandra will take over from incumbent Sunil Arora, who demitted office on Monday, after completing a long inning as an Election Commissioner and CEC.
After retiring as the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Sushil Chandra took office as an Election Commissioner in February 2019. He has made significant contributions in the areas of international taxation and investigation. In a bid to curb illegal wealth and black money, CBDT launched “Operation Clean Money” under his leadership in 2017.
Sushil Chandra’s appointment comes at a crucial time when India is witnessing the ongoing assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory, for which results are to be declared on May 2. Starting halfway through the elections, Chandra will be overseeing the remaining four phases. His experience as Election commissioner through several assembly polls as well 2019 Lok Sabha polls will ensure a smooth transition of the following phases. As the Election Commissioner, he has been part of crucial decision making of the commission to ensure free, fair elections.
Born in May 1957, Chandra has been a former IRS officer who will be the 24th head of the country’s poll commission. In the three-member poll panel, Chandra is the senior-most election commissioner, ahead of Rajiv Kumar.
Chandra was appointed as an Election Commissioner ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 and had been involved in the organisation of the recently-concluded assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.
During his tenure as an Election Commissioner, other assembly elections conducted include those in Maharashtra and Haryana (October 2019), Jharkhand (December 2019), Delhi (February 2020) and Bihar (October-November 2020). Among these, the Bihar polls were the first to take place during the outbreak of the pandemic.
Sushil Chandra’s term will likely end on May 14, 2022. Before that, however, assembly elections of five states will take place which includes Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.