Dharamsala: Chief Electoral Officer of Himachal, Maneesh Garg expressed his deep condolences on the demise of Shyam Saran Negi, (106) India’s first voter of Independent India, who passed away at his residence in Kalpa in district Kinnaur early on Saturday morning.
In his condolence message the CEO said that Shyam Saran Negi, who was a state Election icon, had motivated generations of voters for exercising their right to franchise for strengthening the democratic set up.
He said that such was his commitment that he voted till the last breath of his life as he had cast his vote through postal ballot on 2nd November, at his home in Kalpa
“Shri Negi was a noble human being and I pray to almighty to give peace to the departed soul and strength to the family members to bear the irreparable loss,” said Garg . He will be cremated with full state honors today.
Shyam Saran Negi, (1st July 1917- 5th November 2022) was 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 made it impossible for citizens to reach the polling stations.
Negi cast the first vote on October 25, 1951 and last on 3 rd November 2022. He has voted in every general election since 1951.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Reaches Kalpa, Kinnaur
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar left for Kalpa in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur to meet the bereaved family of independent India’s first voter Shyam Saran Negi, who had passed away on Saturday morning at the age of 106.
The CEC will also attend the last rites in person at his native village.
“Not just first voter of Independent India, but a man with exceptional faith in a democracy. ECI mourns the demise of Shri Shyam Saran Negi. We are eternally grateful for his service to the Nation,” said the Election Commission on Saturday.
“He inspired millions to vote, even before his demise, he voted for Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 through postal ballot on November 2,2022,” it added.
“Such was his commitment to democratic process that he voted till the last breath of his life on 2nd Nov, at his home in Kalpa. We salute him for his contribution to Indian democracy. He will be cremated with state honours today,” Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer said.
With inputs from IANS
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.