Shyam Saran Negi from Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh, cast his ballot on Sunday in the Kinnaur district in the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections for the 17th Lok Sabha.

102-year-old Shyam Saran Negi is independent India’s first voter. He had cast his vote in India’s first general elections which were held in 1951-52.

“I have never missed an opportunity to vote,” Negi told reporters at Kalpa, about 275 km from the state capital Shimla.

A government school teacher, who retired in 1975, Negi voted in the country’s first Lok Sabha elections in October 1951 in Chini constituency, which was later renamed Kinnaur.

At that time, people in parts of Himachal Pradesh were allowed to vote five months prior to the first general elections slated for February 1952 in view of the possibility of snowfall in tough areas.

Negi has never missed casting his vote over the decades and he was the brand ambassador of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

“In the 2007 Assembly polls, an election official got in touch with him for the first time and since then he is in limelight in every election,” a state election official told IANS.

The last time he cast his vote was on May 7, 2014, for the 16th Lok Sabha.

This time he cast his 31st vote. He has voted in 17 parliamentary and 14 Assembly polls.

(With IANS inputs)