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Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: A 101-year-old Noida resident who’s been voting since 1946

Most of the senior citizens living in Noida have been voting diligently every five years since independence and some have voted even before that.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 12, 2019 10:54 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times, Noida
Hundred-and-one-year-old V Santhanam first voted in the 1946 provisional elections of the British Indian provinces.
Hundred-and-one-year-old V Santhanam first voted in the 1946 provisional elections of the British Indian provinces.(HT Photo )
         

With a large population of retired defence personnel, Noida is a city of veterans. The city saw the elderly come out in large numbers on Thursday to cast their votes in the first phase of polling in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and perform their duty towards the democracy.

Most of these senior citizens have been voting diligently every five years since independence and some have voted even before that.

V Santhanam, a 101-year-old resident of Sector 104, first voted in the 1946 provisional elections, a year before India got independence.

“The 1946 elections was for the legislative councils of the British Indian Provinces. Anyone who paid income tax could cast their vote, long before universal adult franchise,” Santhanam, who worked as a marketing professional then, said.

He said his duty towards the country motivates him to vote every time. He added that the people of the country earned the right to vote after a lot of struggle and that it could not be taken for granted. From Mumbai (then Bombay) to Delhi to when he moved to Noida five years ago, Santhanam has not missed an election and has also religiously transferred his vote to the city where he lives.

Santhanam said the current generation has more access to knowledge and should not miss the opportunity to vote.

“It’s fine for people to have their opinions and want change, but it should be expressed by voting. The new generation is more aware and educated about what is happening around them and can discriminate between right and wrong. They should use this information to excise their vote,” Santhanam said.

World War II veteran 96-year-old colonel (retd) Manmohan Bakshi has been living in Noida for 30 years and has not missed voting in any election so far. He said the younger generations need to vote to safeguard the country’s democracy.

“The ballot is stronger than the bullet, as Abraham Lincoln said. Voting is not just our right, but also our responsibility and one must always exercise it and participate in the democratic process of this great country,” Bakshi said.

He added that his son took him to the polling station and it was a convenient walk to the booth and back.

Senior citizens were seen in large numbers at polling centres such as sectors 15A, 44, 37, 38 and other areas in Arun Vihar areas as well, despite the hot and humid weather on Thursday. The day sweltered with the maximum temperature reaching 38.7 degrees Celsius, three degrees above normal around this time, and a minimum of 23 degrees, two degrees above normal.

First Published: Apr 12, 2019 10:54 IST

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