"I take leave from all of you in the Commission. At this point of time, let me wish Chawla a very bright tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner and for successful completion of the Lok Sabha elections," the outgoing CEC told media persons flanked by Chawala and the other Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi.
He also expressed confidence that the Commission would stand up to its name and make its mark again in this country's electoral history. Gopalaswami, who had his differences with Chawla and had recommended to the President for his removal after the Bharatiya Janata Party had filed a complaint with the Commission, was given a warm farewell by the two Commissioners and the staff.
The recommendation was rejected by the government, which appointed Chawla as the next CEC. The outgoing CEC, who had a five-year tenure at the Commission -- three of them at its helm -- shook hands with Chawla embraced him as he took leave on the lawns of the Commission.
Both the Commissioners gave him bouquets. Even in his last days, Gopalaswami and the other two Commissioners differed on a petition seeking disqualification of the Congress President Sonia Gandhi for receiving Belgium's second highest civilian honour "Order of Leopold."