Shyam Saran Negi of Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh is the first and the oldest voter in India

Shyam Saran Negi with wife Hira, Photo:
Shyam Saran Negi, 95 years old, a retired school teacher  in 1975, is the first and oldest voter of independent India, exercised his franchise along with his wife Hira in the recent Lok Sabha Election 2014 at Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh.

Shyam Saran Negi, born in the year 1917 in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, cast the first ever vote in 1951. It was the first general election of Indian nation since end of the British rule in 1947. The majority of election took place in February 1952. Shyam Saran Negi has been exercising his franchise in every general election since 1951. It is believed that he is the oldest voter as well as first voter in India after independence.

A father of 10 children, four sons and five daughters, all are married, while one son left for heavenly abode. One of his sons is a bank manager and one daughter-in-law Uma Devi is president of Kalpa Panchayat.

By the Grace of the Almighty, Shyam Saran Negi does not wear glasses although he hears a bit less. It is stated that he voted 15 times for Lok Sabha and 11 times in Vidhan Sabha elections.

Honour to Shyam Saran Negi

He was honoured in 2010 by the then Chief Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla. The Chief Election Commissioner, Navin Chawla visited Nagi’s village and honoured him as part of the Election Commission’s diamond jubilee celebrations. Again, in 2014, Google India produced a public service announcement in which Negi told of his participation in the first election, and reminded viewers of the importance of voting.

Kalpa is the First Polling Station of India

The first polling station of India for the first ever general elections was set up at Kalpa in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh and consequently the first Indian community which exercised the right to franchise were Kinnars (also known as Kinnauras, a Scheduled Tribe in Himachal Pradesh). It was decided to hold polls at Kalpa on October 25, 1951. The Kalpa village (formerly known as Chini village) is located at 9711 feet from the sea level.

The Chini village was part of the Bushahar princely state ruled by the forefather of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. The first polling station of independent India was set up inside the primary school building of Chini village under Chini assembly constituency which was later renamed as Kinnaur Vidhan Sabha constituency.

It is interesting fact to know that the country’s highest polling station is located in Himachal Pradesh. The name of the polling station is Hikkam and it is situated at 15,000 feet above the sea level in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

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