B B Tandon took over as the Chief Election Commissioner on Monday morning.
Soon after taking charge, Tandon in a written statement said that the incidents of the past week have hurt him as well as the Election Commission but he would put it behind and get on with his work.
He was referring to allegations by a former election observer in Bihar that the EC had taken a poll countermand decision in a manner as to benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party and that the move had casteist implications.
The new CEC said, "I feel this was a deliberate and calculated attempt to undermine the credibility, political neutrality and fair-mindedness of the EC."
He added, "I can assure that such attempts can never succeed in deterring me, my colleagues and the commission from discharging their constitutional responsibility in an objective, impartial and in a totally political manner."
"I hold all castes, communities, tribes, religions and political parties in high esteem in true secular and democratic spirit," he said.
The 64-year-old officer, from the 1965 Indian Administrative Service batch, will hold charge until June next year.
The Chapra polls were contested by Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad and the then civil aviation minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy.
Meanwhile, Navin Chawla, officer of 1969 IAS batch, took over as the Election Commissioner on Monday. He was appointed as the third member of the commission by President A P J Kalam on Saturday night following the recommendation of the union cabinet.