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102-year-old Shyam Saran Negi who cast first vote in 1951 exercises franchise today

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Kinnaur, May 19: 102-year-old Shyam Saran Negi acheived a unique distinction today when he cast vote in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The centenarian, a retired schoolteacher, is India's "first" voter.

He not only participated in the independent India's first election in 1951, but was also the first to cast vote. The centenarian still vividly remembers how he became India's first voter.

102-year-old Shyam Saran Negi who cast first vote in 1951 exercises franchise today

"India's first election was held in February 1952, but the voting for remote, tribal areas in Himachal Pradesh was held five months in advance on 23 October, 1951, owing to fears of inclement weather rendering the exercise impossible here during winter," Negi said, as per reports

Himachal Pradesh: Over 53 lakh voters to seal fate of 45 candidates today

Since then, Negi, who was born on 1 July, 1917, has voted in all the elections,

"I was a school teacher then and had been put on election duty. Due to it, I reached my polling booth at Kalpa primary school in Kinnaur at 7 am to cast my vote. I was the first one to reach there and cast my vote," he said.

The 102-year-old was given a warm welcome by election staff at the Kalpa booth in Mandi Lok Sabha constituency, which went to polls in the last and seventh phase of the general elections.

Such was the enthusiasm in Kinnaur today that Negi was welcomed by officials with traditional folk music and there was a procession of sorts that accompanied him to the polling booth.

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