|Brahma (left), Sampath and Zaidi (right)|
Government of India. With the model code of conduct being in place till the election process gets over in May, the administration and police will report to the Election Commission headed by these three men, making them the most powerful bureaucrats in the country. BoI here gives snapshots of each of these three administrators.
VS Sampath: A former power secretary and 1973 batch IAS, Sampath remained election commissioner between April 2009 and June 2012 before becoming India’s 18th Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) replacing SY Quraishi in June 2012. Sampath will retire in January 2015.
Hailing from Tamil Nadu and belonging to Andhra Pradesh cadre, Sampath as Andhra’s energy secretary was instrumental in undertaking power sector reforms and opening up the sector to private players. In his cadre, he was also the agriculture secretary and then principal secretary, finance. At the Centre, he was Director General of the National Institute of Rural Development and then secretary, chemicals and petrochemicals where he was instrumental in conceptualizing and implementing the petroleum, chemicals and petrochemical investment regions (PCPIR) policy, enabling massive investments in some identified pockets.
HS Brahma: Like his boss Sampath, Brahma too is a former IAS belonging to the same Andhra Pradesh cadre, and is incidentally also a former Union power secretary. This 1975 batch former IAS is a Bodo from Assam, and is only the second person from the North-East, the first being JM Lyngdoh, to become an election commissioner of India. He is likely to be the chief election commissioner for three months after Sampath’s retirement in January next year.
An MA in political science, Brahma studied in Guwahati and Shillong before clearing the UPSC examinations. As joint secretary (border management), Brahma played a pivotal role in the border fencing and other border infrastructural work on Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh border. Later, he also worked as additional secretary in National Disaster Management Authority.
Nasim Zaidi: A former UP cadre IAS of 1976 batch, Zaidi assumed charge as election commissioner of India August 7, 2012. He retired as Union civil aviation secretary before joining the election commission. Earlier, he had served as Permanent Representative of India on the Council of ICAO (November 2005 to October 2008) and then as the Director General of Civil Aviation with the regulatory responsibilities pertaining to aviation safety, efficiency, and continuity of air transport.
A doctorate in bio-chemistry, Zaidi also completed his master degree in public administration from Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and was later a Mason Fellow for Public Policy at Harvard Institute for International Development.