India’s first voter Shyam Saran Negi passes away at 106 in Himachal’s Kalpa, to be cremated with full state honour


Himachal Pradesh: Independent India’s first voter Shyam Saran Negi passed away at the age of 106 early Saturday morning. Negi was a resident of Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur, who cast his postal ballot on November 2 for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh assembly elections.

Deputy commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain Sadiq said that Shyam Saran Negi breathed his last at 2am at his residence. He said that district administration is making arrangement for his last rites with full honour.

On November 2, Negi had exercised his right to vote for the 34th time by first time using the postal ballot for the assembly elections of state for which voting would be held on November 12. In his life, Negi had never missed a chance to vote. When the first general elections were announced in the country, a decision was taken to hold the voting in Kinnaur on October 25, 1951 considering the harsh winters and early snowfall while in other parts of the country elections were held in January-February, 1952.

On October 25, 1951 at Chini village (now Kalpa) a new chapter in the history of Independent India was written when a Kinnaur resident Shyam Saran Negi became the first to cast his vote in first general elections. Then election material was carried to Chini village polling station, which was a primary school, on the mules. At that time Mandi parliamentary constituency was known as Mandi-Mahasu parliamentary constituency.

Sadiq said that since 1951 till 2021 by-elections of the Mandi parliamentary seat, Negi had never missed a chance to vote by going to the polling booth of his village and this time too he was keen to cast his vote at the polling booth.

Negi was a source of inspiration to others as he had never missed the chance to vote in parliamentary, assembly and panchayat elections and had made it a point to cast his vote always.
Despite his ailing health, he was determined to cast his vote at the polling station on November 12 but when his condition deteriorated, he filled the form 12D to cast his vote at his residence at Kalpa on November 2. Kinnaur district administration had given him red carpet welcome at his residence to poll his vote.

Amid the sounds of traditional Kinnauri drum beats, Negi had polled his vote in the presence of the entire administration who was present there to welcome him. After he put his postal ballot in the box, Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer Abid Hussain Sadiq had honoured him with a bouquet, traditional Kinnauri cap and muffler. Born in July 1917, Negi had retired as a school teacher in 1975.

Shyam Saran Negi, in his last message had motivated the youth to vote by telling them about the value of every single vote. He had said that after lot of efforts country got freedom from slavery and every election is like a religious festival so people should vote religiously so that good people are elected.

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