‘Seshan redeemed the autonomy of EC’

In his six-year tenure as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) in the 1990s, T.N. Seshan, who passed away in Chennai on Sunday, “redefined the very grammar of the electoral process”, fought against violence in polls and reminded citizens of the power of voting, the Election Commission of India (EC) said on Monday.

Seshan, a 1955-batch IAS officer, helmed the Election Commission from December 12, 1990 to December 11, 1996.

Poll grammar

“Shri Seshan redefined the very grammar of the electoral process. Holding the constitutional post of CEC, he enhanced the stature of the office by coming down heavily on electoral malpractices and dealing sternly even ruthlessly with violence and muscle power which were at all-time high when he took over,” the EC said in a condolence message,

The former CEC “redeemed the autonomy and authority” that the Constitution gave the EC and refused to act merely as a manager of monitoring of elections. He started to proactively rid elections of the use of money, liquor, muscle power and booth capturing, it noted.

Fight against corruption

“Shri Seshan was the right man, in the right place, at the right time. He became the symbol of a crusade against electoral corruption. He created an environment and consciousness whereby citizens felt that they were the main stakeholders in the elections,” it added.

The EC, including CEC Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, held a condolence meeting here on Monday.

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