“True Torchbearer Of Democracy”: Leaders Pay Tributes To TN Seshan

TN Seshan was the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India.

New Delhi: 

Former chief election commissioner T N Seshan, who ruthlessly enforced the model code of conduct and led the game-changing electoral reforms in the 1990s, died on Sunday following a cardiac arrest. He was 86. Mr Seshan was not keeping good health for the past couple of years and passed away at 9.45pm, his daughter was quoted as saying by news agency told PTI.

Though he was largely confined to his home due to age-related health issues for the past couple of years, he was always passionate to write about his journey, the people he knew and eventful years in service of the people.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Mr Seshan efforts towards electoral reforms have made Indian democracy “stronger and more participative”.

Home Minister Amit Shah remembered Mr Seshan as “true torchbearer of democracy”.

In his condolence message, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu credited Mr Seshan for a number of reforms to give the Election Commission the stature it enjoys today.

Chief Elections Officer Sunil Arora called Mr Seshan a “legend” who will always be a source of inspiration to “all CECs and ECs to come”.

“Goodbye Seshan Saheb! TN Seshan was no more showing the real power to the Election Commission. Tearful tribute. The democracy of the country will always be proud of you. I wish, your tradition could have survived in this period through some more Jambanas. You will always be a source of inspiration to the lovers of democracy,” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted in Hindi.

A retired 1955 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, TN Seshan is credited with flexing the poll body’s far-reaching constitutional powers during his term from 1990 to 1996. He was the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India.

He had received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, considered Asia’s Nobel, for his initiatives in making the electoral process more transparent.

Born in 1932 in Kerala’s Palakkad district, the former bureaucrat had joined the civil services in 1955 and served as secretary of several departments in Tamil Nadu and at the centre during his decades-long career.

Before he was appointed as India’s chief election official, he was handpicked by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to be the Cabinet Secretary, the senior most position in the civil services.

In 1997, TN Seshan had unsuccessfully contested the Presidential election against KR Narayanan.

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