TN Seshan, the former chief election commissioner, died on Sunday at his residence in Chennai, family sources said. He was 86 years old.
Seshan, the 1955 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, recently fell sick due to age-related ailments.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death on Twitter.
“Shri TN Seshan was an outstanding civil servant. He served India with utmost diligence and integrity. His efforts towards electoral reforms have made our democracy stronger and more participative. Pained by his demise. Om Shanti,” the Prime Minister wrote.
“Sad to announce that Shri TN Seshan passed away a short while ago. He was a true legend and a guiding force for all his successors. I pray for peace to his soul,” Qureshi, who is also an ex-chief of the poll watchdog, wrote on Twitter.
“Sad that former ChiefElectionCommissioner TN Seshan has passed away in Chennai. He was my father’s classmate at VictoriaCollege Palakkad — a courageous &crusty boss who asserted the ElectionCommission’s autonomy& authority as no CEC before him had done. A pillar of our democracy,” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor also posted.
Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Sheshan was born in Palakkad, Kerala in December 1932. He had started living in Chennai after his retirement.
Seshan, appointed CEC by former president R Venkatraman on December 12, 1990, ushered in rules and regulations of the election body to ensure free and fair elections in India until his tenure ended on December 11, 1996.
Seshan, during his term as the CEC, had appointed special officers to monitor election proceedings. He also clamped down against politicians who used their executive powers to influence the voters.
He even recommended the then prime minister to sack Congress leader Sitaram Kesari and Samta Party’s Kalpnath Rai for influencing voters.
After his retirement, Seshan unsuccessfully contested the presidential elections in 1997. He lost to then-president KR Narayanan.
He also served as the 18th cabinet secretary in 1989 and defence secretary under former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
He was awarded the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in 1996 for his services to the government.