It is one experience that Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Navin Chawla would like to forget. Chawla was scheduled to return to New Delhi, along with his three senior colleagues on Thursday at 8.30 pm after holding a day-long meeting with state officials for reviewing the poll preparedness of the ensuing state elections in the region.
However, after the pilot of the VT-B 88 aircraft informed about the bad weather in Delhi, the idea of flying the same night was dropped and the CEC had to return to Ravi Bhavan – the state VIP Guest House.
As soon as the CEC decided to return, district collector Pravin Darade immediately informed about the change in plans to the officials concerned. On the other hand, as the CEC left the VIP Guest House - Cottage no 2 - that he was occupying, was occupied by two district collectors. They were then hurriedly shifted to another cottage. But before moving out, the officials carried crockery of cottage no 2 with them for reasons best known to them.
When the CEC reached the Guest House at 9.30 pm, it was all chaos. All officials had left for the day. The guards deputed at the CECs cottage too had left.
The district collector immediately summoned the concerned PWD officials back on duty. All this took around 20 to 25 minutes. But by that time, Chawla started feeling hungry. What followed was more chaos as the cooks too had left by then and there was no food available at the state Guest House.
The food then had to be ordered from a city hotel. The food was delivered at Ravi Bhavan at around 10.15 pm. But all was not over, as when the attendants looked around for plates and stuff to serve the food, these were found missing. The crockery was somehow arranged and finally the CEC could have some food.
According to reports, agitated over the entire episode, Chawla ordered an enquiry into it following which the district collector issued notices to several officials concerned, including the executive engineer D Bonde.
The district collector admitted that he had issued notices to certain PWD officers for the mess.
However, Chawla was not available for comments.