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James Michael Lyngdoh Biography

The Chief Election Commissioner of India from June 14, 2001 to February 7, 2004, James Michael Lyngdoh was selected for the Indian Administrative Service(IAS) at the age of twenty-two. Known for his courage and uprightness, he raised the hackles of the high and mighty, during his many postings all over the country.

He served as Secretary, Coordination and Public Grievances, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, before he was named in 1997 as one of India’s three election commissioners. He rose to the rank of the Chief Election Commissioner in 2001.

Lyngdoh showed his mettle when faced with two severe crises during his stint as the CEC. One of the them was the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly elections in 2002. Inspite of cross-border terrorism and calls for a poll boycott, the Election Commission was successful in holding the elections. After the Godhra riots in Gujarat, the Gujarat government called for elections. Lyngdoh, citing the disturbed circumstances, preferred delayed polls and held his ground. Hailing from the remote Northeastern state of Meghalaya, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service in 2003.