Shyam Saran Negi, the first voter in independent India, died on Saturday at his home in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur, PTI reported. He was 106.
Negi was the first person to cast his vote when India held its first general elections in October 1951. On November 2, he cast his last vote through postal ballot for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections.
Negi was also a brand ambassador for the Election Commission.
“Not just the first voter of Independent India, but a man with exceptional faith in democracy,” the poll body said on Friday. “We are eternally grateful for his service to the nation.”
Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Abid Hussian Sadiq said that Negi will be cremated with full state honours, according to PTI.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur offered his condolence to Negi’s family.
He said the thought of Negi exercising his right to vote a few days ago will always make him emotional.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also remembered Negi and said that he had voted more than 30 times in his life, according to PTI.
“Even before his demise, he discharged his duty,” Modi said. “His outlook towards democracy will inspire the country’s youth.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that Negi will always remind us of our obligation towards the nation.
“The demise of India’s first voter Shyam Saran Negi is sad news,” he wrote in a tweet. “He has seen the country take its first breath in a free sky and held on to the strings of democracy till his last breath.”