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Himachal Polls: Independent India's first voter Shyam Negi, aged 106, casts postal ballot

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Google Oneindia News

Shimla, Nov 02: 106-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, the first voter of Independent India, exercised his right to franchise for the 34th time for the 14th Assembly Elections through a postal ballot at his residence in Kalpa 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.

 106-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, the first voter of Independent India, exercised his right to franchise for the 34th time for the 14th Assembly Elections through a postal ballot at his residence in Kalpa today

Shyam Saran Negi, born in 1 July 1917 is a retired schoolteacher in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, who cast the first vote in the 1951 general election in India - the nation's first election since the end of the British Rule in 1947.

Although most of the polling for that first election took place in February 1952, Himachal Pradesh went to the polls five months early because the weather there tends to be inclement in February and March and heavy snowfall during that period would have make it impossible for citizens to reach the polling stations.

Negi cast the first vote on October 25, 1951.He 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.

In 2010, the then Chief Election Commissioner of India, Navin Chawla, visited Negi's village to honour him as part of the Election Commission's diamond jubilee celebrations.

In 2014, Google India produced a public service announcement in which Negi told of his participation in independent India's first election, and reminded viewers of the importance of voting.

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