India, April 14 -- Sushil Chandra is India's new chief election commissioner. The context of his appointment is important. He takes over from his predecessor, Sunil Arora, at a time when the Election Commission of India (ECI) is conducting a fiercely contested, bitterly polarising, and occasionally violent election in West Bengal. He also takes over when ECI has taken action against campaigners - most recently, chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rahul Sinha in Bengal for violating the model code of conduct. Mr Chandra's ascension also comes at a time when the Opposition has been raising doubts and questions about the independence of ECI.

All of this makes it incumbent for Mr Chandra, a former Indian Revenue ...