Navin Chawla to be next chief election commissioner

March 4th, 2009 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha PatilNew Delhi, March 4 (IANS) Navin Chawla will be the next chief election commissioner as President Pratibha Patil Wednesday approved the appointment, officials said here.
Chawla, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the 1969 batch, will take over the charge after the incumbent, N. Gopalaswami, retires April 20.

The president has approved the appointment of Navin Chawla as the next chief election commissioner, a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson told IANS.

Chawla, being the senior-most among the two election commissioners, will preside over the parliamentary polls scheduled to be held April 16-May 13.

He will take charge while the five-phase Lok Sabha polls would be on and will oversee the completion of the rest of the election process. Chawla will hold the charge till July 29, 2010, when he will be 65 years.

The appointment came after a controversy as Gopalaswami recommended to the president that Chawla should be removed from the poll panel as he was biased. Gopalaswami’s letter in January triggered an unseemly fracas in the constitutional panel and a bitter war of words between the Congress-led government and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP had then said Chawla must be sacked since he had always been partial. The Congress, however, said the opposition party was politicising the issue ahead of the polls.

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