Election Commissioner and Chief Election Commissioner of India

Navin B Chawla was appointed as Election Commissioner in 2005 to fill the vacancy caused by the elevation of BB Tandon as Chief Election Commissioner. He served as Election Commissioner from 16 May 2005 to 20th April 2009, and took over as Chief Election Commissioner on 21st April 2009 upto 30 July 2010, when his term ended at the constitutionally mandated age of 65. He oversaw the Indian General Election to the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) in April-May 2009. Despite earlier carping by the main opposition about alleged bias in favour of the Congress party, he proved to be a textbook Chief Election Commissioner and conducted elections in a totally even-handed manner. In the process of ensuring a level playing field, he drew criticism during the election process from the ruling Congress party in power in the States of Rajasthan, Assam, Andhra Pradesh as well as its ally in Tamil Nadu, the DMK. The rigorous and difficult election process involving 715 million voters, almost 835000 polling stations and a deployment of almost 11 million personnel, concluded to widespread national and international acclaim, with almost all major newspapers editorially acclaiming not only the most difficult of electoral enterprises in the world, but also the quiet and determined efficiency of the Election Commission that resulted in barely a complaint during and after such a gigantic exercise. One of Indian leading TV channels (NDTV) conferred on him and the ECI the honour of India's Icon of the Year award for the last 21 years.