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National Voters Day : Know about the first voter of India

By Chennabasaveshwar
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    India is celebrating National Voters Day on Thursday. The significance of this day is to encourage youngsters, who have reached the age of 18, of the country to participate in the electoral process, by enrolling or registering themselves in electoral rolls and to exercise their franchise. January 25th is also the foundation day of the Commission, which came into being on this day in 1950.

    Shyam Sharan Negi, first voter of India with his wife Hira Mani Negi. PTI file photo

    On this occasion, we should know the first and oldest voter of India. He is none other than Shyam Saran Negi from Himachal Pradesh.

    Shyam Saran Negi is India's oldest voter. He cast his vote in Kinnaur district in the recently concluded Himachal Pradesh assembly elections. Negi (100), a retired schoolteacher, created history when he voted in Kalpa in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh to become Independent India's first voter in 1951.

    Shyam Saran Negi, born on 1 July 1917 in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, - the nation's first election since the end of the British Raj in 1947. Although the majority of the election took place in February 1952, residents of Himachal Pradesh were given the chance to vote five months early because of the probability that heavy snowfall would make it impossible for citizens to reach the polling stations.

    Negi has voted in every general election since 1951 and is believed to be India's oldest voter as well its first.

    The Election Commission had made special preparations for Negi to vote in Kinnaur district. As the centenarian found it difficult to walk, Kinnaur district administration had provided a special vehicle to take him to the polling station and drop him back home. At the polling station, Negi received a grand welcome.

    Shyam Saran Negi also made a special appearance in a Hindi film Sanam Re.

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