Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Tuesday took charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India replacing Sunil Arora, who retired a day earlier.
Chandra was appointed as an Election Commissioner on February 14, 2019.
Along with Arora and former Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, Chandra oversaw the successful organisation of that year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Chandra’s term will end on May 14, 2022. Before that however, Assembly elections are likely to take place in the states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday appointed Chandra as the new CEC in line with the convention to appoint the senior-most election commissioner to the top post.
Chandra is the senior-most Election Commissioner, ahead of Rajiv Kumar.
After Arora’s retirement, there is only two members in the poll panel.
Chandra will oversee the completion of the ongoing Assembly elections in West Bengal, where four out of the eight rounds of voting have been completed.
The final phase will take place on April 29, followed by the counting of votes and declaration of results on May 2.
During his over two-year tenure as an Election Commissioner, Chandra supervised assembly elections of more than 10 states and worked towards making the entire nomination process online.
As a member of the Arora-headed panel, Chandra was also involved in the organisation of the recently concluded Assembly elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.
Other assembly elections conducted during Chandra’s tenure as an Election Commissioner include those in Maharashtra and Haryana (October 2019), Jharkhand (December 2019), Delhi (February 2020) and Bihar (October-November 2020).
The Bihar polls were the first to take place during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier, Chandra had served as the chairperson of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
Under his leadership, CBDT launched “Operation Clean Money” in 2017 in a bid to curb illegal wealth and black money.