Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa Resigns, Set To Join Asian Development Bank
(Image: Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa (left) and Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora)Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who was in line to become the next Chief Election Commissioner of India has resigned from the Commission. According to reports, Lavasa is set to join the Asian Development Bank (ADB) which had last month appointed him as Vice-President for private sector operations and public-private partnerships. Lavasa is believed to have sent his resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday. Lavasa who has served as Union finance secretary and environment secretary had joined the election commission in 2018. A year later in May, Lavasa was the lone dissenter and had raised questions about the clean chit given to PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for violations to the model code of conduct in the 2019 general elections by the two other election commissioners including the current Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and election commissioner Sushil Chandra. One of the complaints where Lavasa had disagreed with his fellow commissioners concerned the complaint against PM Modi for invoking the Balakot surgical strike and asking first-time voters to dedicate their votes to those who carried out the strikes.
Lavasa’s family also came into the spotlight when in September last year the income tax department alleged discrepancies in the income and assets of his wife and son. A 1980 batch IAS officer, Lavasa was appointed as Election Commissioner by the Modi government in 2018. He still had two years to serve as the EC and was expected to be appointed as Chief Election Commissioner and would have presided over crucial assembly elections in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Goa. With Lavasa’s resignation, Election Commissioner Susheel Chandra is tipped to be the next chief election commissioner. While Mr Lavasa could not be reached for comment on his resignation, an earlier press release by the ADB states "Mr. Lavasa has a long and distinguished career in the Indian civil service. He is currently one of the Election Commissioners of India and previously served in a range of senior posts including as Union Finance Secretary of India; Union Secretary for the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change; and Union Secretary for the Ministry of Civil Aviation. He has extensive experience in public–private partnerships and infrastructure development at the state and federal levels, with deep knowledge on public policy and the role of private sector".