Harishankar Brahma assumed charge as the 19th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) on Jan 16, 2014 and said the first priority was to conduct the Delhi assembly polls in a “free and fair” manner and use digital technology to improve election management.
“To improve quality, transparency and speed, it will be my personal endeavour to use the latest technology both internet and digital to improve the quality of our election management, especially in voting,” Brahma told.
“My first priority and mission objective is to ensure that we conduct the election to the Delhi legislative assembly in an absolutely free and fair manner,” he said after taking charge.
“Our long-term goal at the Election Commission of India, which I visualize, is to deliver excellence.”
Officials said the commission was trying to use technological innovations in addressing problems like multiplicity of names in electoral rolls, issuance of voter identity cards and corrections in details like addresses.
Brahma (64), succeeds V.S. Sampath, who completed his tenure Thursday.
He will have a tenure of slightly over three months till April 19 when he turns 65, the upper age limit for the post under the constitution.
The appointment of Brahma, the senior-most member of the Election Commission, was made by President Pranab Mukherjee Thursday. There is a convention of appointing the senior-most among the three commissioners as the chief election commissioner.
A 1975 Indian Administrative Service officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, Brahma, who hails from Assam, is a former union power secretary. He is the second from the northeast to hold the post after J.M. Lyngdoh (2001-04).
He assumed charge as an election commissioner Aug 25, 2010.
In his tenure as a member of the Election Commission, Brahma besides the general elections of 2014, has managed numerous assembly elections, including Bihar (2010), Assam (2011), Gujarat, Punjab (2012), Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh (2013) and last year’s assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand.
Sampath, who retired Thursday, stepped in as a commissioner in March 2009 at the end of first of five-phased Lok Sabha polls.
He laid down office as CEC after completing the general elections in May 2014 and assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir in December with a record vote percentage.