Chennai: T N Seshan, former CEC and the architect of Indian electoral reforms, died on Sunday at Chennai after a cardiac arrest. He was 86.
Born in 1932 in Palakkad, T N Seshan joined the Indian Administrative Service in the year 1955 and served in many positions before being the Chief Election Commission of India.
Seshan’s tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner is a milestone episode in the history of electoral reforms in India.
Seshan was responsible for bringing in changes that nobody dared in the electoral administration. His six years tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner from 1990 to 1996 saw strict enforcement of Model Code of Conduct, issuance of Voter Identity Cards for all eligible voters, and enforcement on limits on candidate’s election expenditure. Seshan was the man behind many steps that made the Election Commission a truly autonomous body.
His tough actions against malpractices like bribing or intimidating voters, distribution of liquor during elections, use of official machinery for campaigning and appealing to voters’ in the name of caste or communal feelings had an lasting impact on the electoral process.
Seshan received the prestigious Magasyay Award for his contribution to the reforms in the electoral process and making them more transparent. The only time he failed was when he jumped the political bandwagon in 1997 by becoming the presidential candidate against KR Narayanan.
Tributes to the legendary reformer. India will ever be grateful to your contributions.