Shyam Saran Negi, Independent India’s first voter, passed away in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur on Saturday. He cast his 34th vote for the forthcoming Assembly polls three days ago, passed away at his native place Kalpa in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday, his family said. He will be cremated with full state honours, says Deputy Commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq.
“Not just the first voter of Independent India, but a man with exceptional faith in democracy,” an EC spokesperson said after Negi passed away on Saturday morning at his residence in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur. He was 106 years old. “Not just the first voter of Independent India, but a man with exceptional faith in democracy,” an EC spokesperson said after Negi passed away. He was 106 years old.
Born on July 1, 1917, Negi claimed he had cast his vote in every parliamentary, Assembly and panchayat election. In 1951, Negi, a retired school teacher, was on election duty and had exercised his franchise in Chini constituency, later renamed Kinnaur. Negi was featured in several awareness campaigns and ads of the Election Commission and private companies.
As per official record, he had also participated in the 1951-52 general elections, the country’s first. “I have never missed an opportunity to cast my vote since India got its independence in 1947 and I am happy to vote this time too,” Negi had said in Kalpa, some 275 km from the state capital, after exercising his franchise.
“He inspired millions to vote, even before his demise, he voted for Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 through postal ballot on November 2, 2022,” the EC said on Twitter.
His last vote was celebrated with great fanfare and traditional drum beats by the Kinnaur district administration and Sadiq honoured him with a bouquet of flowers.
“Considering his age and health, last week we had asked him whether he wanted to cast his vote at his home, but he had refused saying that he would cast his vote at the polling station. Unfortunately, he got ill and he informed us about his decision to cast his vote at home and accordingly arrangements were made by the district administration,” deputy commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq told Times of India.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed condolences on Negi’s death and said that he had cast his vote for the 34th time, fulfilling his responsibility as a citizen.