Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, who was next in the line to head the poll panel, has been appointed as vice-president at the Asian Development Bank.

ADB has appointed Lavasa as vice-president for Private Sector Operations and Public–Private Partnerships in the bank.

This was announced by the regional development bank on Wednesday.

He will succeed Diwakar Gupta, whose term will end on August 31, the bank said in a statement.

Lavasa would be only the second election commissioner to step down from the poll panel before completion of his term.

The last time an election commissioner put in his papers was in 1973 when chief election commissioner Nagendra Singh was appointed a judge in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Lavasa has a long and distinguished career in the Indian civil service.

A retired IAS officer, Lavasa was appointed as an election commissioner in January 2018.

He would be in line to be appointed as the chief election commissioner after Sunil Arora completes his term if the government sticks to the tradition of appointing the senior-most commissioner to the top post.

According to a media report,  Lavasa did not agree with the Election Commission of India’s decision to clear Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then BJP president Amit Shah of charges of violating Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The rift within the three-member commission came into the open after reports emerged that Lavasa recused himself from meetings to discuss MCC issues unless his dissent was recorded, the media report said.

Lavasa 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.

“As joint secretary in the department of economic affairs, he worked closely with many ADB projects that had private sector components,” the bank said in the statement.

Lavasa has an MBA degree from Southern Cross University in Australia, and MPhil in Defense and Strategic Studies degree from the University of Madras.

He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree with English honours and a Master of Arts in English Literature from Delhi University.

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