Leaders cutting across party lines mourned TN Seshan’s death and called him a guiding light.

Epitome of a decisive public servant Tributes pour in for former CEC TN SeshanTwitter/Sajith2009
news Death Monday, November 11, 2019 - 08:03

Condolences poured in from across the country, late on Sunday night, following the death of former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan in Chennai. From politicians to journalists, Seshan was remembered as an official who upheld democratic values and ensured free and fair elections in the country.

He was 86 years old and passed away at his residence in the city. Leaders cutting across party lines mourned his death and called him a guiding light.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami offered his condolences to TN Seshan's family on Monday. Stating that he was pained by the death of TN Seshan, former Chief Election Commissioner and a retired senior IAS officer, he said, "He brought in many electoral reforms when he was the Chief Election Commissioner. He has also held many important positions in government of Tamil Nadu. He was a good administrator, hardworker and used to mingle with everybody in a kind manner."

DMK President MK Stalin also expressed his deepest condolence to TN Seshan's family and friends through a post on Facebook. "It would only be a fair tribute to TN Seshan if the Election Commission of India ensures to uphold his ideals of non-corrupt autonomy of the institution," he wrote adding that through his electoral reforms, TN Seshan will not only be known among the voters, but also prevail as the eternal light in Indian democracy's eyes. 

TN Seshan was appointed the 10th Chief Election Commissioner by President Venkataraman in December 1990. In the next six years, he changed the face of the Commission bringing about sweeping electoral reforms. While elections in India were all about money and muscle power, the Commissioners before him could not ensure that the Model Code of Conduct was adhered to. It was Seshan who brought in the change, demolishing walls of resistance.

He advised the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao to remove two sitting cabinet ministers over allegations of influencing voters. He cut down on allowed expenditure and had a zero tolerance policy for campaign speeches that stoked caste or communal sentiments.

He prohibited bribing, intimidation and liquor distribution. Though they were multiple rules in place already when he was appointed, it took an officer like Seshan who was unfazed by political backlash and criticism to enforce them.

Current Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, told the media, soon after Seshan's demise, that he will always be a source of inspiration to EC officials.