NEW DELHI: Tirunellai Narayana Seshan, former chief election commissioner who was regarded as the icon of Indian bureaucracy, passed away due to cardiac arrest in Chennai at the age of 86.
He became an Indian bureaucracy icon for ushering tectonic reforms in India's electoral process during his tenure as the election commission during the '90s.
Tirunellai Narayana Seshan or TN Seshan was the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India and he led the commission from 1990-1996.
He was born in Palakkad, Kerala and did his schooling from Basel Evangelical Mission Higher Secondary School.
He graduated from Madras Christian College in Physics and he passed the IAS exams while working as a demonstrator at the Madras Christian College.
He was a 1955 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre and did his tenure as an Election commission.
He was known as the man who cleaned up elections in India and reformed elections by largely ending its malpractices. Under his tenure, no one dared to violate the law.
Some of the achievements under his tenure include; Voter IDs for all eligible voters, strict implementation of election code of conduct and limiting candidate expenditures.
He also eliminated malpractices such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters, official machinery for campaigning and eliminating practice where voters are brought in through caste or communal feelings.
For his work in making the electoral process more transparent, he received the Ramon Magsaysay Award which is regarded as Asia's Nobel prize.
He was handpicked by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to be the Cabinet Secretary. He had also contested in the presidential elections against KR Narayanan but lost to him in 1997.
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.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 10, 2019
Saddened to know about the demise of T.N. Seshan, a stalwart for free and fair elections. His legendary contribution to democracy will be always remembered. My condolences to his family and many admirers— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) November 10, 2019