Shyam Saran Negi – the man who is considered to be the first voter of Independent India, and thereby the first citizen to participate in the democratic process in the country – passed away at the age of 106, at his native place in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, on Saturday, 5 November.
His demise comes two days after he cast his last vote for the 14th Assembly Elections through a postal ballot on 2 November.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi – acknowledging Negi's act of exercising his right to franchise for the 34th time – had praised him on Twitter. "This is commendable and should serve as an inspiration for the younger voters to take part in the elections and strengthen our democracy," he had tweeted.
When did Negi cast his first vote? 23 October 1951, during the first General Elections of Independent India.
But how exactly did he become the first voter? In an interview with The Quint ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections in the state, Negi recounted that the voting in his area was scheduled to start at 7 am. "But I reached there at 6.30 am to cast my vote and then went for my duty. So like that I became the first voter, didn't I?" he said.
The final goodbye... Deputy Commissioner of Kinnaur, Amandeep Garg on Saturday, 5 November said that Negi will be cremated with full state honour.
Negi was born in July 1917 in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Jairam Thakur, also expressed grief on Negi's demise.
In a tweet in Hindi, he said, "Saddened to hear the news of the demise of Shyam Saran Negi Ji, the first voter of independent India and who belonged to Kinnaur."
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