2019 Lok Sabha elections are here, and India has over 900 million eligible voters. Unfortunately, not all of them exercise their right to vote. That is why 102-year-old Shyam Saran Negi is an inspiration of sorts, to generations old and new. He is independent India’s first voter and since then, he has never missed casting his vote even once. He is also India’s oldest voter and is all set to vote again this year.
Negi belongs to the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, where he worked as a teacher. When India’s first General Elections were held in 1951, he was assigned poll duty. But such was his enthusiasm to be a part of the process, that he requested to cast his vote first and then move to his polling booth for duty. That’s how he became India’s first voter, told his 53-year-old son Chander Prakash to a leading daily.
Born on July 1, 1917, Negi is now the brand ambassador of Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign by the Election Commission of India, as who is better suited than this man, who has not missed a single Lok Sabha, panchayat or assembly elections.
He is a VIP of sorts, and each year, he is received with love, warmth and a thundering applause when he goes to cast his vote. The Election Commission also makes sure that the centenarian gets to cast his vote without any hassle or delay.
Negi started voting many moons ago, but he still has the same excitement about the entire process as he had then. His grandchildren consider him a role model for the younger generation, and he can often be seen talking to them and others about the importance of casting your vote. He rightly says that it is our duty to elect good leaders and exercising our vote can help in doing so.
“I am appealing to all the voters, especially the younger generation, to spare time and elect an honest man who can take the country to new heights.”
In an interview to IANS, the 102-year-old urges the youngsters to exercise their voting right. He said, “I am appealing to all the voters, especially the younger generation, to spare time and elect an honest man who can take the country to new heights.”
He lives a recluse life in the village with his family and is always up-to-date with the news which he listens to on the radio. He loves tea and enjoys staying in his own world. You can see him going strong every year with a smile on his face and a walking stick in his hand.
Shyam Saran Negi is an ageless inspiration who understands and spreads the importance of casting our votes. Here’s wishing him good health and hoping he continues to exercise his right for years to come.
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