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OP Rawat appointed as new Election Commissioner

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New Delhi: Om Prakash Rawat, a former Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer who till recently was Secretary at the Centre, was on Thursday appointed as the new Election Commissioner, days before dates of the Bihar assembly elections are announced.

His appointment will come into effect from the day he assumes office, a Law Ministry statement said in New Delhi.

With Rawat’s appointment, the sole vacancy in the three-member poll body has been filled. His appointment comes days before the poll watchdog takes a call on announcing the schedule for Bihar assembly polls.

Born on December 2, 1953, Rawat — a 1977 batch officer — will have a tenure of more than three years which will end in December, 2018. He had retired from government service in December last year.

An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or till he or she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

“It is a constitutional post and I will carry out my duties with impartiality,” Rawat said.

While Naseem Zaidi is the Chief Election Commissioner, Achal Kumar Joti is the other Election Commissioner.

Rawat’s second stint at the Centre began in March 2012 and he was Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries when he retired.

Earlier in 1993, he was a Director in the Defence Ministry. He has also served as Principal Secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh between 2004 and 2006.

An awardee of state government’s ‘recognition of forest rights’ in 2009, Rawat did his MSc in Social Development Planning in 1989 in the United Kingdom.

After VS Sampath demitted office in January this year, HS Brahma was elevated as CEC. But after Brahma demitted office, two posts of ECs in the three-member body had remained vacant.

Between April 19, when Nasim Zaidi took over as the CEC till May 7 when Joti was appointed Election Commissioner, he was the only member in the poll body.

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