Shyam Saran Negi, , is a retired schoolteacher who cast the first vote in the 1951 general election in India — the nation’s first election since the end of the British Raj in 1947 . Negi has voted in every general election since 1951, and is believed to be India’s oldest voter as well its first. Shyam Saran Negi also made a special appearance in a Hindi film Sanam Re. Negi has voted in every Lok Sabha, assembly and panchayat elections and at 102, he is all set to vote again in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Indian Election Commission tracked the country’s first voter in July 2007 when Indian Administrative Service officer Manisha Nanda, now additional chief secretary (public works department) in Himachal Pradesh first learnt about Negi from the photo electoral roll.
“I had lot of interest in Kinnaur since as I was aware that voting in the snow-bound area was held ahead of other places in the country,” said Nanda. “One fine day, I came across a photo electoral roll which had voters more than 90 years old. Negi’s age suddenly caught my attention and I asked election department officials to visit Negi, then 92-year-old,” she said. In 2012, then chief election commissioner Naveen Chawla reached Negi’s home in Kalpa village of Kinnaur to facilitate him.
(With inputs from Indian media)
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16 June, 2019