Shri Sunil Arora assumed charge as the 23rd Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India on December 2, succeeding Shri O.P.Rawat. Shri Rawat who demitted the office on December 1, 2018, after completing his tenure.
Prior to assuming charge as Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Arora had been serving as Election Commissioner in Election Commission of India since September 1, 2017. During this time, Election Commission has conducted elections to the states of Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland & Karnataka successfully. Similarly, elections to five poll going states, namely, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan & Telangana are in various stages of completion and the counting of the same is on December 11, 2018. During his tenure as CEC, there will be General Election to the 17th Lok Sabha, General Elections besides the elections to State Legislative Assemblies of Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, NCT of Delhi, Bihar and Jammu & Kashmir.
Born on April 13, 1956, Shri Arora, a former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Rajasthan cadre 1980 batch, superannuated on April 30, 2016, as Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. During the 36 years of his service, he held various crucial positions in the State Government of Rajasthan and in the Central Government.
He served in several key positions viz. Secretary in the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Chairman & Managing Director of the then Indian Airlines between 2002 to 2005, member of Board of Directors of Air India, Airport Authority of India Ltd. and National Skill Development Corporation. Shri Arora also served as the Chairman of Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation (RIICO) in 2005-2013 and as Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Government of Rajasthan in 2013-2014 among several other important positions.
The text of the statement given by Sh. Arora after assumption of charge as CEC is reproduced below:
“As we are all aware, founding fathers of our Constitution set up the institution of Election Commission on 25th January 1950. Over a period of time, due to the sheer dedication of so many illustrious CECs, ECs and all those who are working in the Commission as well as those in the field formations, have made Election Commission an iconic institution. The entire democratic world looks up to it and those countries who are transiting towards democracies, for them this Commission is a beacon of hope. It is with utmost humility and an enormous sense of responsibility that I have just taken over as Chief Election Commissioner. I have already remained here as Election Commissioner for a little over a year. 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.
We are also aware that Elections to Lok Sabha are in the offing. The internal preparations for this actually started sometimes back. We will try to meticulously prepare on all fronts whether it is ER, EVM, VVPATs disseminations through our very credible programme of SVEEP ensuring voting rights through ETPBS for our soldiers, for persons with disability and give the country a fair, credible, free, impartial and ethical election. In that Ashok Lavasa ji my colleague, batchmate and fellow commissioner, whoever joins as the next other Commissioner and all my colleagues in the ECI we will elicit and want to solicit cooperation of all the stakeholders including political parties, members of civil society, NGOs, media and all those who have a stake in the crucial events like elections to Lok Sabha of India. I will not say more on this occasion except to seek the blessings of all of you. A concrete issue which I just want to mention is that, we had appointed a committee to review the various facets of Section126 of Representation of the Peoples Act 1951, under our Senior Deputy EC Shri Umesh Sinha ji. He has already assured me that they are going to submit the final report for the perusal and consideration of the Commission by 30th December 2018. Thank you.”