Days after casting his final ballot in the state’s 14th Assembly elections, 106-year-old Shyam Saran Negi—the country’s first voter since independence—died on Saturday morning in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh.
Negi was the nation’s first voter when he cast his ballot on October 23, 1951, at the Kalpa polling place. On November 2, this year, he cast his 34th and final ballot, an accomplishment that was recognised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to PM Modi’s tweet, “This is laudable and ought to serve as an inspiration for the younger voters to participate in the elections and enhance our democracy.”
The 106-year-old voted by mail on November 2nd. Negi’s death was comforted by Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who said that it “will always be emotional” to remember the nation’s first voter casting his final ballot.
“Saddened to learn of the passing of Kinnaur-born Shyam Saran Negi ji, the country’s first independent voter. On November 2, while carrying out his duty, he cast his 34th postal ballot for the assembly elections; this memory will always bring tears to my eyes “Tweets from Thakur.
He concluded by praying that God would strengthen the grieving family members and bless the man’s upright soul at his feet.
Negi will be cremated with full state honour, according to Amandeep Garg, the deputy commissioner of Kinnaur.
Maneesh Garg, the chief electoral officer, offered condolences on Negi’s passing and said that he “inspired generations of people to use their right to vote for improving the democratic set up.”
“Such was his determination that he voted till the last breath of his life as he had cast his vote through postal ballot on November 2nd, at his residence in Kalpa,” Garg said in a statement.
“Negi was a good man, and I ask the Almighty to grant his soul peace and the family members the fortitude to endure the irreparable loss. Today, he will be cremated with all due respects “The declaration read.
He was referred to as “Master Shyam” and cast his ballot in the first general elections held in India in January and February of 1952. In Himachal Pradesh, elections were held in the month of October 1951 while taking weather and snowfall into consideration. Since 1951, Negi has run in every election for the Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha, and municipal bodies.
Negi had been a national symbol since 2014. He was born in the Himachal Pradesh tribal district of Kinnaur in July 1917. In the Lok Sabha elections, he had cast 16 votes.
The centenarian has cast a ballot in every election since 1951, according to the Chief Electoral Office of Himachal, Negi, a teacher by profession.
The 106-year-old implored the nation’s citizens to utilise their right to vote on the day he cast his final ballot in order to support the democratic system.
He said that we should be proud of our right to vote because it aids in selecting the best representative to govern the country, saying that young voters “should consider their duty to vote and contribute to strengthening the nation.”
A red carpet was arranged to transport him to the postal booth placed up in the compound of his home, according to district election officer and deputy commissioner Abid Hussain Sadiq.
Sadiq claimed that Negi was “taken on a red carpet to the booth where he exercised his right to vote and shortly thereafter his vote was sealed in an envelope and deposited in the ballot box.”
The first voter in Independent India was honoured by Sadiq, the returning officer cum SDM Kalpa, Major (retd) Dr. Shashank Gupta, and the other officers and officials of the district government.
The centenarian voter had also received congratulations from the Chief Electoral Officer.