Shyam Saran Negi: India’s first voter dies at 106

He cast his last vote in the 14th assembly elections on 2 November

Maroosha Muzaffar
Sunday 06 November 2022 07:07 GMT
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File. In this photograph taken on April 24, 2014, Indian resident Shyam Saran Negi gestures as he speaks at his home at Kalpa in Kinnaur District in the northern State of Himachal Pradesh
File. In this photograph taken on April 24, 2014, Indian resident Shyam Saran Negi gestures as he speaks at his home at Kalpa in Kinnaur District in the northern State of Himachal Pradesh (AFP via Getty Images)

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Independent India’s first voter, Shyam Saran Negi, died on Friday at the age of 106 in his home state of Himachal Pradesh in the north of the country.

He cast his last vote in the 14th assembly elections in the state on 2 November.

He was the first person to cast his vote in the first elections in India after the country gained independence in August 1947. He cast his ballot for the first time on 23 October 23, 1951, in the Kalpa polling station in Himachal Pradesh — becoming India’s first voter.

Local reports said that he cast his vote for the 34th time in his lifetime on 2 November this year through a postal ballot. The feat was acknowledged by the prime minister of the country, Narendra Modi too.

Mr Modi tweeted: “This is commendable and should serve as an inspiration for the younger voters to take part in the elections and strengthen our democracy.”

On Friday, the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, expressed his condolences on Negi’s death.

He tweeted: “Saddened to hear the news of the demise of Shyam Saran Negi ji, the first voter of independent India and who belonged to Kinnaur. While performing his duty, he cast his postal vote for the assembly elections for the 34th time on November 2, this memory will always be emotional.

“May God bless his virtuous soul at his feet and give strength to the bereaved family members," he added.

Deputy commissioner of Kinnaur Amandeep Garg told local media that Negi will be cremated with full state honour. He was born in July 1917 in the Kinnaur district of the state.

In 2014, Negi was made a brand ambassador for the Electoral Commission of India. He encouraged the young to vote and even starred in a video encouraging voters to cast their ballots in elections.

Chief electoral officer Maneesh Garg expressed his condolences on the demise of Negi and said that he “motivated generations of voters for exercising their right to franchise for strengthening the democratic set up”.

Mr Garg added: “Such was his commitment that he voted till the last breath of his life as he had cast his vote through postal ballot on 2nd November, at his home in Kalpa.

“Negi was a noble human being and I pray to the almighty to give peace to the departed soul and strength to the family members to bear the irreparable loss. He will be cremated with full state honours today.”

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