Rebuilding Election Commission my priority,says CEC-designate

Chief Election Commissioner-designate Navin B Chawla,under attack from the BJP for his alleged “proximity to the Congress”....

Written by Suman K Jha | New Delhi | Published: March 11, 2009 2:34 am

Chief Election Commissioner-designate Navin B Chawla,under attack from the BJP for his alleged “proximity to the Congress”,has told The Indian Express that “rebuilding the institution” (of the Election Commission) will be his priority.

Chawla takes over as the poll panel chief when incumbent N Gopalaswami demits office on April 20. The first phase of general elections would have been completed by then.

In a letter to the President in January,Gopalaswami had recommended Chawla’s removal as Election Commissioner alleging that he had a pro-Congress bias. The President rejected the recommendation early this month.

Asked about these charges,Chawla refused to comment. He,however,said: “There is no rancour in my heart against anyone. My emphasis would be,as has been the tradition in the Commission,on good practices of free,fair,and transparent elections. My endeavour would be to keep adding bricks to the institution…We eventually want to make it the best institution in Asia.”

Asked if Gopalaswami and he were on talking terms after the controversy in Nirvachan Sadan,he said: “Of course,yes. How else would we function otherwise?”

The three-member panel recently concluded a visit to the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to review arrangements for the coming general elections.

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