April 24, 2024

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Shyam Saran Negi: “India’s first voter” passes away at age 105

At the age of 105, the “first voter in India” passed away.

Shyam Saran Negi is thought to have cast the first ballot in India’s first general election after it gained independence from British rule.

Mr. Negi has voted in every election since then.

The elderly man, who was 100, had cast his ballot in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections just three days prior to his death on Saturday.

The retired teacher is thought to be the first person to cast a ballot in an independent India because his state opened polling places five months early in 1951 for the 1952 election to avoid major snowfall.

Jawaharlal Nehru was chosen as India’s first democratically elected prime minister after nearly a century of British colonial rule, from 1848 to 1947, thanks to a resounding victory by the Indian National Congress.

The Electoral Commission staff threw out the red carpet for Mr. Negi earlier this week when he cast his postal ballot in advance of the election on November 12.

Because of his ill health, Mr. Negi reportedly decided to mail his ballot in this election, marking the first time he has skipped a polling place.

Mr. Negi was selected as the Electoral Commission’s brand ambassador in 2014 in an effort to encourage voting.

Also that year, he made an appearance in a Google video pushing viewers to vote in the general election.

According to the Indian newspaper The Tribute, Mr. Negi asked young people to vote as he posted his papers on Wednesday.

He was cited as saying, “It is not only our right but also our duty to participate in elections by utilising our right to vote.” He continued, “Youth should stand up and take part in the democratic process.”

In his remarks at an electoral rally on Saturday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid respect to Mr. Negi.

According to the officials, he will be cremated at his village in Kalpa with full state honours.