BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis expressed his condolences after former Election Commissioner TN Seshan passed away on Sunday evening, November 10. Fadnavis said the country will forever remember him as a great administrator. Seshan suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Chennai.
In a tweet, Fadnavis said, "Sad to know about the demise of Former Chief Election Commissioner Shri T. N. Seshan ji. Known for electoral reforms, as a CEC he set a precedent for his successors. India will always remember him as a great administrator. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, followers!"
Seshan was known for ruthlessly enforcing the model code of conduct and led the game-changing electoral reforms in the 1990s. He was known for his no-nonsense attitude and was credited with ushering in major electoral reforms during his tenure as the 10th CEC between December 12, 1990, and December 11, 1996.
He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1996. In his acceptance speech of the prestigious award, Seshan had said, "I deemed this award a tribute to the process of democracy throughout the free world, to the wisdom of millions of India's electorate not always necessarily formally educated, to the millions of Indian voters who have overcome disabilities of economic status, social disability, poverty, and prejudice to walk into the ballot booth and use that little marking stamp to decidedly say who they want to rule over them."
A 1955-batch Indian Administrative Service officer, he held various key posts in the government including that of the defence secretary and the coveted position of cabinet secretary. But he gained popularity only after he took over as the chief election commissioner in 1990. Till he took over, political parties ferrying people to the polling stations were considered quite "normal," and it was during Seshan's stint that it became impossible with the model code being made sacrosanct.
Also, he ensured that bogus voting was averted to a large extent. Such reforms were unheard of till he took over as the 10th chief election commissioner in 1990. In his zealous mission to cleanse the electoral system, he earned the wrath of politicians including late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa who had hit out at him, calling him "arrogant" among other things.