Sunil Arora, who was appointed as the new Chief Election Commissioner by President Ram Nath Kovind, has taken charge today. He succeeds OP Rawat, who demitted office on Saturday.
Shortly after taking charge, Mr Arora held a press conference at his office. "All of us in the Commission will put best foot forward to meet the expectations of all the stakeholders under the purview of Constitution of India," he said.
As the Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Arora will oversee the 2019 general election. Besides the LokSabha elections, he will also be responsible for the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim that are scheduled to be held next year.
Mr Sharma said that the poll body has started internal preparations for the 2019 general elections. "We will ensure voting rights for our soldiers and persons with disability. We will give the country a fair, free, credible, impartial and ethical elections," he said.
Mr Arora, 62, had been the Information and Broadcasting Secretary, and Secretary in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
A 1980 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, Mr Arora is the senior-most officer in the election commission. He has worked in ministries and departments such as Finance, Textiles and Planning Commission.
He also served as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation during 1999-2002 and CMD, Indian Airlines for five years (two years as additional charge and three years as full charge).
In Rajasthan, besides district postings in Dholpur, Alwar, Nagaur and Jodhpur, he was Secretary to the Chief Minister during 1993-1998 and Principal Secretary to CM (2005- 2008) and handled Information and Public Relations (IPR), Industries and Investment Departments.
A Chief Election Commissioner or an EC can have a tenure of six years or hold office till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The convention is to appoint the senior-most election commissioner as chief election commissioner.