TN Seshan, legendary bureaucrat, passes away: Prez Kovind, PM Modi, HM Amit Shah recall his services to the nation

INDIA’S former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan passed away at his Chennai residence on Sunday evening following a cardiac arrest. Ever smiling, blessed with a sense of humour and an erudite scholar in Sanskrit, Malayalam and Tamil, the ex-bureaucrat was 86. The no -nonsense former IAS officer was Union Cabinet Secretary before his appointment as CEC.    He was an outstanding civil servant and remembered by his former colleagues for serving the nation in various capacities with utmost diligence and integrity. “His efforts towards electoral reforms have made our democracy stronger and more participative” says Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Offering his condolence, Home Minister Amit Shah   said: “Saddened by the demise of former Chief Election Commissioner, Shri T N Seshan ji.”Seshan “played a transformative role in reforming and strengthening India’s electoral institution”, HM Shah said and added the nation will always remember him as a true “torchbearer of democracy”.”My prayers are with his family,” he said in tweets. Seshan became the 10th Chief Election Commissioner of India after retirement from IAS   from December 12, 1990 to December 11, 1996. He won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for government service in 1996. He was married to Jayalakshmi Seshan until her death in March 2018. The couple did not have any children.Born as Tirunellai Narayana Iyer Seshan on December 15, 1932, in Tirunellai, Palakkad district now in Kerala, Seshan was widely known and remembered for his electoral reforms and had passionately bated for introduction of EVMs and convincing the political class about the   utility of EVMs   as part of his electoral reforms to replace paper ballots to end rigging.Sesan was associated with several socio-cultural organizations. He was not in good health for the past couple of years and was largely confined to his home at Chennai, said his kin. He made the EC powerful within the existing laws and pleading for electoral reforms, some of his successors like SY Quereshi and Linghdo also demonstrated their determination to act, says  News 18.Appointed by Prime Minister Chandrasekhar, Seshan was cited as a shining example of what a CEC should be. Even the Supreme Court once told the Commission to aspire for the kind of credibility it enjoyed during Seshan’s days.An IAS topper of the 1955 batch, he had once told an interviewer. “I had never conducted an election. I went with two principles: zero delay and zero deficiency.” An IAS topper of the 1955 batch, he had once told an interviewer. “I had never conducted an election. I went with two principles: zero delay and zero deficiency.”He followed both throughout his tenure. He wielded the big stick and implemented the election manual in letter and spirit. Some of his big achievements include implementation of the election process and the Model Code of Conduct, introduction of voter ID cards, enforcing limits on poll expenses, and elimination of several malpractices like distribution of liquor, bribing voters, ban on wall writing, use of loud speakers, use of religion in election speeches. He also   introduced election observers and made it obligatory on the part of the candidates to keep accurate accounts of campaign expenses. His legacy is being carried forward by the New Delhi headquartered Election Commission of India (edited by PK Chakravarty).  

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