Sushil Chandra, the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes or CBDT, has been appointed as the new Election Commissioner.
His appointment came ahead of this year’s general elections, which is due by May. The Commission is expected to announce the date and the schedule for the elections by the end of this month. The three-member Commission — which has been one member short since December — also has a huge workload: Reviewing poll preparedness in various states, preparing electoral rolls and coordinating a multitude of arrangements that go into conducting the elections in the second largest democracy.
The Commission has also been under pressure lately, with the opposition alleging that the Electronic Voting Machines had been tweaked to benefit the BJP in various states. The parties have been demanding a return to ballot paper — which the Commission has firmly denied. Mr Chandra, an IIT graduate and a 1980 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre), has recently retired from the CBDT.