Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India and Congress leader Manohar Singh Gill passed away at a private hospital on Sunday at the age of 86 after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.
According to his family members, the last rites of Gill will be held at the Lodi Road Crematorium at 3 pm on Monday.
‘Gill’s leadership will continue to inspire commission’
The Election Commission issued a statement expressing deep condolences on the passing of Manohar Singh Gill, who served as its 11th Chief Election Commissioner. The Commission described him as a “brilliant officer of the 1958 batch of the Indian Administrative Services, Punjab cadre.”
“During his tenure as CEC, the ECI successfully conducted the general elections to the 12th Lok Sabha in 1998 and 13th Lok Sabha in 1999; 11th presidential elections and vice-presidential elections in 1997, and general elections to legislative assemblies in more than 20 states,” the poll panel said.
“His leadership and commitment to the electoral process will continue to inspire us at the Election Commission of India. Shri Gill was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in the year 2000 for his exceptional and distinguished services as a civil servant. We pray for the noble departed soul and convey our profound condolences,” it added.
Political leaders express condolences
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge condoled Gill’s demise and lauded his contribution to the development of the nation. “Extremely saddened at the passing away of former Union minister, Padma Vibhushan, Shri Manohar Singh Gill ji,” Kharge said in a post on X.
“As a valued colleague in the UPA govt and earlier as a civil servant, his contributions to the development of the nation in varied fields like sports, electoral processes and agriculture were long lasting. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and followers. I pray to the almighty for his eternal peace,” he added.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also expressed his sadness at Gill’s passing. “Saddened to hear about the passing away of former CEC and Union Minister Dr Manohar Singh Gill. My heartfelt condolences are with his family and I pray to Waheguru ji to grant eternal peace to the departed soul,” he said.
Who was MS Gill?
M S Gill was born in Aladdinpur village of Tarn Taran district. A former bureaucrat, Gill served under Parkash Singh Badal as a young officer when the Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch was the Punjab chief minister.
He began his career in the Administrative Services in 1958 and served until he retired as the Chief Election Commissioner of India. He held this position from 1996 to 2001. Gill served in administration at various places in different capacities in the undivided Punjab until 1966 when Punjab was trisected to carve out separate states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
Gill and GVG Krishnamurty were made members of the Election Commission when TN Seshan was heading the poll panel. It was then that the poll panel became a multi-member body. Notably, it was during his tenure as Chief Election Commissioner that the Election Commission introduced Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in India.
Joined Congress after retirement
Following his retirement, he joined the Indian National Congress. Gill is perhaps the first former CEC to have joined politics. Gill entered the Rajya Sabha as a Congress member. He served as a Member of the Rajya Sabha, representing Punjab. He held this position for two successful terms, spanning from 2004 to 2016.
Tehe former CEC was made the Union sports minister in 2008. Gill served as a Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs as well as Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation in the Manmohan Singh government. It was during the tenure as Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports that India hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Gill was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, in the year 2000 for his exceptional and distinguished services as a civil servant.
(With agencies input)