Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who famously dissented against giving a clean chit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah (then BJP President) for poll code violations during the Lok Sabha elections last year, has been appointed the Vice President of the Asian Development Bank. He was set to become the next Chief Election Commissioner.
Lavasa will replace Diwakar Gupta, whose term ends on 31 August.
Lavasa’s appointment was announced by the ADB on social media as it tweeted, “ADB has appointed Ashok Lavasa as Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships. He will succeed Diwakar Gupta, whose term will end on 31 August.”
#ADBNEWS: ADB has appointed Ashok Lavasa as Vice-President for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships. He will succeed Diwakar Gupta, whose term will end on 31 August.
Read the official announcement ⬇️https://t.co/y6ANNYtcaI
— Asian Development Bank (@ADB_HQ) July 15, 2020
No sooner did Modi win a second historic mandate in 2019, Lavasa had found himself under the scanner from the power ministry. This was after a newspaper reported that the Modi government had asked 11 public sector undertakings to verify whether Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa had exercised ‘undue influence’ during his tenure in the power ministry from 2009 to 2013.
Many believe that by appointing Lavasa as the ADB VP, the Modi government has struck a peace deal with the Election Commissioner.
In September, Lavasa’s wife Novel Singh had received notices from the Income Tax department in relation to her income as an independent director of multiple companies.
Lavasa had dissented with the CEC and another Election Commissioner after they gave a clean chit to Modi and Shah for poll code violations. On 1 May, the Election Commission had given Modi a clean chit on complaints of violations of the Model Code of Conduct during his election speech in Latur in Maharashtra. The same day, the national poll body ruled that Modi did not violate any rules with his speech made in Maharashtra’s Wardha, where he was seen provoking Hindus against the Congress at an election rally on 1 April.
On 3 May, the EC had given another clean chit to Modi on complaints of poll code violations. This was in the case of his speech in Rajasthan’s Barmer, where he had said that India was no longer scared of Pakistan and the country’s nuclear arsenal was not meant for Diwali celebrations. On 4 May, the EC said that Modi did not violate the model code in his speech in Gujarat’s Patan on 21 April. The Prime Minister had said that his government kept Pakistan on its toes to secure the safe release of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Not just Ashok Lavasa, who’s second in seniority after Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, even his daughter Avny Lavasa too was seen acting against the BJP for poll code violation during this year’s Lok Sabha elections. Posted as Leh District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Avny had vowed to punish BJP leaders after a video of local journalists being bribed by the saffron party functionaries went viral.