TN Seshan, who cleaned up elections, dies in Chennai home at 86

The 1955-batch IAS officer was CEC from 1990 to 1996 and was known for his fight against electoral malpractices such as bogus voting and booth capturing.

Former Chief Election Commissioner T N Seshan died on Sunday at his residence at St Mary’s Road in Alwarpet, Chennai. He was 86. A cancer survivor, Seshan had been suffering from age-related ailments for a long time. Sources close to him said he suffered a cardiac arrest around 9.30 pm on Sunday.

The 1955-batch IAS officer was CEC from 1990 to 1996 and was known for his fight against electoral malpractices such as bogus voting and booth capturing.

Born in 1932 at Thirunellai, now in Kerala’s Palakkad district, Seshan completed his education from Government Victoria College, Palakkad, Madras Christian College and Harvard University.

Before being appointed CEC, he held positions in the government and Planning Commission.

The reforms brought by him include mandatory use of photo ID cards and the poll panel taking control of the administration and police during elections. He also asserted the autonomy of the EC by running a system free from influence of the political executive. He won the Ramon Magsaysay award in 1996. In 1997, he unsuccessfully contested the presidential election as an Independent candidate against K R Narayanan.

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