Chief Election Commissioner-designate Navin Chawla on Thursday was generous in his praise of his predecessors as well as incumbent N Gopalaswami, with whom he had a running battle for almost three years.
Chawla, who takes over as the CEC on April 21, said the Election Commission had done exemplary work and he “would continue the tradition.”
“My predecessors — TN Seshan, MS Gill, JM Lyngdoh, TS Krishnamurthy, BB Tandon — and of course N. Gopalaswami have done exemplary work in conducting free, fair and impartial elections during the last two decades,” Chawla told Hindustan Times over the phone from Lucknow when reached for his reaction to his appointment.
Refusing to be drawn into the controversy that led to the Gopalaswami seeking his sack, Chawla said: “The successful completion of series of assembly elections during the past four years, including the difficult one in Jammu and Kashmir, shows how the commission works.”
The commission would intensify efforts to encourage the deprived sections to develop a habit of voting. “We would empower the weaker sections, the disabled and specially the leprosy victims.”
Chawla’s comments indicated he was not willing to join issue on any of the points raised by Gopalaswami.
Chawla would hold the office of CEC for 13 months from April 21. He will retire on July 29.
The attention is now on the name of the new election commissioner, who will fill the vacancy created after Chawla’s elevation.