3 Days After Voting Through Postal Ballot, India’s 1st Voter Dies at 106; Himachal to Give Full State Honour

Shyam Saran Negi
Shyam Saran Negi

106-year-old Shyam Saran Negi, independent India’s first voter, died on Saturday morning in Kalpa in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur district. Negi voted for the 34th time through a postal ballot at his Kalpa residence on Wednesday, exercising his right to franchise for the last time.

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Kinnaur district commissioner Hussain Sadiq confirmed Negi’s death, saying he will be cremated with full state honours.

Jairam Thakur, the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, expressed his sorrow at the passing of 106-year-old Negi. In a tweet, the Chief Minister expressed sadness over the death of Shyam Saran Negi Ji, the first voter of independent India.

CP Negi, Negi’s son, said his father had been unwell for a long time and passed away around 3 am today.

As a teacher by profession, Negi was known as Master Shyam Saran. The centenarian believes in democracy and never fails to vote in any election, be it Lok Sabha, Assembly or panchayat.

Since 1951, Negi has voted in every election without missing a chance since he voted for the first time in 1951. On Wednesday, he voted through a postal ballot for the first time.

To get their representatives at the helm, the centenarian asked the young voters to participate actively in the democratic process. “Young voters should consider their duty to vote and contribute to the nation’s strength. As a nation, we should be proud of our right to vote as it helps us elect the right representatives,” Negi said after casting his vote.

“I have never missed an opportunity to vote since India got its independence in 1947, and I am looking forward to voting this time too,” he said in Kalpa, about 275 kilometers from the state capital. It was noticed that he was wearing ink on the finger that he flashed after casting his vote in the Mandi parliamentary by-election last year as well.

In 2014, he was named an election icon of Himachal Pradesh for exercising his franchise in Chini, which was later renamed Kinnaur.

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