V.S. Sampath’s elevation as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) after the retirement of S.Y. Quraishi wasn’t exactly as smooth as one would have expected. According to sources, the Congress party initially seemed keen on naming former PMO aide M.N. Prasad as Quraishi’s successor. Neither was it comfortable with H.S. Brahma, Sampath’s colleague at Nirvachan Sadan. Apparently, both elections commissioners were IAS officers from Andhra cadre and allegedly came to Delhi at YSR Reddy’s insistence. Given the trouble the party has had with the Reddy family since YSR’s death, the misgivings were real. Fortunately they did not come to pass. Now, quite naturally, great attention is being paid to who will be Sampath’s successor. Among the names doing the rounds are P.K. Tripathi, at present chief secretary of Delhi, and Shamsher Sharif, an IAS officer who has previously worked with Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
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