Sunil Arora took over as the country’s new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on Sunday, succeeding O P Rawat, who demitted office on December 1. He will oversee the conduct of the crucial Lok Sabha elections next year.
Shortly after assuming charge, Arora, 62, sought cooperation from all stakeholders, including political parties, media, civil society organisations and people at large, to make elections “totally free, fair, peaceful, accessible and ethical”. He added that the Commission is already in the midst of preparing for the Lok Sabha polls.
“All I can say at this stage is that all of us in the Commission shall continue to put our best foot forward to meet the expectation of all the stakeholders strictly in consonance and in conformity with the vision and ideals of the Constitution of India especially the Preamble thereof,” Arora told reporters.
Apart from Parliament elections, Arora, as CEC, will oversee the conduct of Assembly elections in Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashgtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Delhi, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir. He will retire in April 2021.
A former IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, 1980 batch, Arora, retired as the secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. He was also the secretary in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He was appointed as election commissioner on September 1, 2017.
During his 36-year career as a bureaucrat, he was the Chief Managing Director of Indian Airlines from 2000 to 2005. In Rajasthan, besides district postings in Dholpur, Alwar, Nagaur and Jodhpur, he was secretary to the chief minister from 1993 to 1998 and principal secretary to the chief minister from 2005 to 2008.