Sunil Arora takes over as CEC, vows free and fair national poll

New Delhi: Sunil Arora on Sunday took over as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, replacing OP Rawat, who retired on Saturday. “The Election Commission of India (ECI) has begun preparations for the coming Lok Sabha elections next year, which we are committed to conducting in a free and fair manner,” he said.

“Our first and foremost priority is to give the country fair, credible, free, impartial and ethical elections,” said Arora, while addressing the media persons at Nirvachan Sadan, the headquarters of ECI.

“For the Lok Sabha elections, we are making meticulous planning on all fronts including electronic voting machines (EVMs) and the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT). We will go for massive dissemination activities about elections and creating awareness among voters through our highly credible ‘Sweep’ programme,” Arora further said.

Talking about the impact of social media on elections, Arora informed that the committee formed by the ECI to review various facets of Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 under senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha is likely to submit the report by December end. “We will take corrective measures on the basis of the recommendations the committee makes,” he added.

A 1980 batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre, Arora is the senior most officer in the Election Commission. Before moving to the ECI, Arora was Information and Broadcasting Secretary, and Secretary in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. He also worked in different other ministries and departments such as Finance, Textiles and Planning Commission.