Prime Minister Narendra Modi today asked people to take inspiration from 106-year-old Shyam Saran Negi-the first voter of independent India, who passed away on Saturday morning at his native place in Himachal Pradesh.
While addressing an election rally in the Sundernagar assembly constituency of Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh Prime Minister paid tributes to Negi and said that the first voter of independence India will inspire every citizen of the country, especially the youth to exercise their right to franchise in the democratic process.
The Prime Minister called on the youth to take inspiration from Shyam Saran Negi and stated, "This should be remembered by every citizen, especially the youth. I pay my respects to Shyam Saran Negi Ji and offer my condolences to his relatives."
The Prime Minister recalled the country's first voter and said that he performed his duty of casting a vote before his demise.
"When I was on my way to Himachal from Delhi, I got the sad news of the passing away of the first voter of independent India, Shyam Saran Negi, who belonged to Kalpa Kinnaur of Himachal Pradesh", the Prime Minister said.
"The 106-year-old Negi had cast a vote over 30 times in his entire life", he said and pointed out that Negi had also cast his vote on November 2 in the Assembly elections through postal ballot.
"He performed his duty by casting a vote before his demise. This will always inspire every citizen especially the youth of our country. I bow my head in tribute to him with an emotional heart," Prime Minister said in Sundernagar of Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier PM appreciated Negi for inspiring youth
Earlier on November 2, the Prime Minister has appreciated Shyam Saran Negi for inspiring youth.
Negi had cast his first vote in the independent country on October 23, 1951, in the Kalpa polling station, becoming the first voter in the country, and he cast his vote for the 34th time on November 2 this year which became his last, a feat that was acknowledged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"This is commendable and should serve as an inspiration for the younger voters to take part in the elections and strengthen our democracy," Prime Minister had tweeted on November 2.
Home Minister expresses grief over Negi's death
Calling the first voter of independent India, Shyam Saran Negi an inspiration Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday expressed his grief over Negi's death.
"His faith and commitment to the democratic processes of the country at the age of 106 is an inspiration to all," Shah tweeted in Hindi.
देश के प्रथम वोटर हिमाचल के श्याम सरन नेगी जी का निधन दुःखद है।— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 5, 2022
देश के पहले चुनाव से लेकर अब तक सभी चुनावों में उन्होंने मतदान किया। 106 वर्ष की आयु में देश की लोकतांत्रिक प्रक्रियाओं में उनकी आस्था व प्रतिबद्धता सभी के लिए प्रेरणीय है। ईश्वर उनकी आत्मा को शांति दे। ॐ शांति
"The death of Shyam Saran Negi Ji of Himachal, the first voter of the country is sad. From the first election of the country till now, he has voted in all the elections", the Home Minister mentioned.
CEO Himachal Pradesh informs about demise of Negi
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Himachal Pradesh Maneesh Garg informed about the demise of Shyam Saran Negi.
"CEO Maneesh Garg expressed his deep condolences on the demise of Shyam Saran Negi, first voter of Independent India, who passed away early morning today at his residence in Kalpa", the Election Department of Himachal Pradesh tweeted.
"Such was his commitment to the 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", he said.
"He inspired millions to vote, even before his demise, he voted for Himachal Pradesh Assembly Elections 2022 through postal ballot on November 2, 2022", the CEO of Himachal Pradesh tweeted.
Popularly known as Master Shyam, he became the first voter of Indian democracy as the general polls of the country were conducted in January and February 1952. Keeping in mind snow and weather conditions, the polls were conducted in October 1951 in Himachal Pradesh. Negi has participated in every Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha, and all local bodies elections since 1951.
CEC leaves for Himachal to meet the bereaved family
As a mark of respect for the first voter of Independent India, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, Rajiv Kumar left for Himachal Pradesh to meet the bereaved family. He is likely to attend the last rites of the first voter of the country.
Negi had cast his first vote in the independent country on October 23, 1951, in the Kalpa polling station, becoming the first voter in the country, and he cast his vote for the 34th time on November 2 this year which became his last.