104-yr-old Negi casts vote for 33rd time

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 30

Not the one to miss his date with polling, 104-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, independent India's first voter, was accorded a red carpet welcome as he reached the polling station at Kalpa in Kinnaur district to cast his vote in the Mandi Lok Sabha byelection today.

Negi had turned down the offer to vote from the comfort of his home, considering his age, and exercised his right to franchise for the 33rd time in his life at Kalpa-05 polling station.

"I consider myself fortunate to have never missed voting in any election till date, since I cast my vote for the first time on October 25, 1951," he said.

Frail yet strong in resolve to understand the significance of casting vote, an alert Negi assisted by his family members in a wheel-chair reached the polling station. He was honoured by the district administration with a Bushairi green cap, khatak (scarf) and flowers amid the playing of traditional instruments.

The polling in the snow bound tribal areas was held five months prior to rest of the country, giving Negi the honour of being Independent India's first voter.

Negi has always taken pride in exercising his right to franchise, notwithstanding his age and health. Each time he walks to the polling station to cast his vote, he makes it a point to make a special appeal to everyone to understand the importance of one's vote.

The tribal constituency of Kinnaur is one of the 17 Assembly segments constituting the Mandi parliamentary segment. The counting of votes will take place on November 2.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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