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» J M Lyngdoh, Chairman


Born in Khasi tribal origin, Lyngdoh hails from the northeastern state of Meghalaya. Lyngdoh, son of a district judge.
He completed his education in Delhi.


Lyngdoh entered the IAS, when he was twenty-two. He quickly became known for probity and toughness and for favoring the underdog against politicians and the local rich..[citation needed], In one early post, his principled execution of mandated land reforms so enraged landlords that he was transferred before the year was out.[citation needed], . Similar clashes with the powers-that-be marked his rise in the Service..[citation needed], But rise he did, eventually serving as Secretary, Coordination and Public Grievances, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India.

Work as Election commissioner

In 1997, the president named Lyngdoh one of India’s three election commissioners. By 2001 he was chief election officer.Lyngdoh soon faced crises in two of India’s most troubled states. In Jammu-Kashmir, where India was locked in a potentially explosive standoff with Pakistan and local secessionists, state elections fell due in 2002. Many people doubted that they could be conducted credibly. Lyngdoh thought otherwise. Pushing ahead despite a vicious cross-border assassination campaign .[citation needed], and a boycott, the Election Commission updated and verified the election rolls, introduced voter identity cards, and added a thousand new voting sites. The Commission recruited nonpartisan poll officers for every polling station.
He heightened election security by mobilizing the local police and paramilitary forces from outside the state..[citation needed], Then he urged the people "to vote fearlessly." Forty-four percent did so. Even Lyngdoh’s critics .[citation needed], acknowledged that the polling had been fair, causing many in India to seize this triumph of "ballots over bullets" as a sign that the long-festering crisis of Jammu-Kashmir might yet be resolved peacefully.
After the Godhra riots the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dissolved the state government and called for elections amid the sectarian carnage, Lyngdoh used his authority to say no. Citing the large number of displaced persons and the pervasive atmosphere of fear in Gujarat, he postponed the elections. Although vilified for doing so, he stood his ground and carefully prepared for the delayed polls. He insisted, for example, that local officials and police who had supposedly been complicit in the riots be transferred (though allegations of complicity were disproved by G.T. Nanavati).


Ramon Magsaysay Award
Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureates, March, 2007



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