India rolls out the red carpet for 100-year-old voter

Shimla (India) (AFP) –


Authorities in a remote Himalayan village in northern India rolled out the red carpet Thursday for a 100-year-old man who has voted in every election since independence to cast his ballot.

Retired school teacher Shyam Saran Negi was given a special escort to the polling booth in Himachal Pradesh state to retain his record of voting in every Indian election since 1947.

"I have voted 29 times since the first general election in 1951," Negi told journalists in Kalpa in Himachal Pradesh, which is holding state elections, after walking up a specially laid red carpet to cast his ballot.

Negi has now voted in 16 parliamentary and 13 state elections, often braving heavy snow to reach his local polling station.

Shyam's son C.P Negi told AFP his father now usually stayed home by the fireplace, but was still very enthusiastic about elections.

"He keeps himself informed through radio and is a particularly keen follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's monthly radio show," the son added, without saying who his father had voted for.

Shyam urged voters at his polling booth to exercise their constitutional right and "elect good people who form a pro-people government".