Shyam Saran Negi, who will turn 103 on July 1, has dutifully cast his vote for all the elections, starting with the first general elections held in 1951.
An ardent believer in a democratic set-up, the young man who loves tuning in to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ despite being hard of hearing, wants everyone to exercise their Right to Adult Franchise.
He told IANS, "I am appealing to all the voters, especially the younger generation, to spare time and elect an honest man who can take the country to new heights."
Negi was recently appointed the brand ambassador of SVEEP (Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation) campaign by the state Election Commission.
Speaking to IANS, Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Chand said an appeal will soon be issued on his behalf to the electorate to turn up to vote on May 19.
Negi has five daughters and three sons and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The centenarian who lost his wife in 2014 and his eldest son in 2002, now lives with his youngest son Chander Parkash in the Himachali village of Kalpa in Kinnaur district, about 275 km away from Shimla.
According to an NDTV report, Chander Parkash has reassured that his father does his daily chores on his own and has good eyesight too.
Negi, who retired as a government school teacher in 1975, was one of the first persons to vote in independent India's first general elections in Kinnaur constituency, erstwhile Chini.
He recalled how back in the days, balloting in snow-bound areas was held before other places.
Former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla had visited Negi's village in 2010 to honour him as part of the EC’s diamond jubilee celebration.
Over the years, poll officials have collected videos of Negi casting his ballot in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2017 Assembly and parliamentary elections.