Gopalswami’s Term Ends, Chawla New CEC

Chief Election Commissioner of India N Goplaswami completed his tenure on Monday, his successor Navin Chawla, whom Goplalaswami wished “a very bright future,” will now be incharge of the poll panel for the remaining four legs of the staggered five-phase polls to elect the 15th Lok Sabha.

“I take leave from all of you in the Commission. At his point of time, let me wish Chawla a very bright tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner and for successful completion of the Lok Sabha elections,” said Gopalaswami while speaking to reporters in New Delhi, he was flanked by Chawla and the other Election Commissioner SY Qureshi.

The outgoing official’s statement of solidarity bring to an end the tumultuous relationship between Gopalaswami and his deputy Chawla, whose ouster the former had soght in a letter to President Pratibha Patil weeks before the poll schedule for the Lok Sabha was announced.

Marking the end of his five year term at the Election Commission, including three as the CEC, Gopalaswami shook hands with Chawla and embraced him before walking out of the Nirvachan Sadan for the last time.

On Sunday, Gopalswami had differed with the other two ECs on a petition seeking disqualification of Congress President Sonia Gandhi for receiving Belgium’s second highest civilian honour “Order of Leopold”.

Chawla, an IAS officer of the 1969 batch takes over as the next CEC, his term shall continue till July 29 2010 when he completes 65 years of age.

“The President has approved the appointment of Navin Chawla as the Chief Election Commissioner with effect from April 20 on completion of the tenure of N Gopalaswami,” a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said on New Delhi.

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