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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Himachal's oldest voter laments loss of personal touch with poll campaigners

'Earlier party leaders contesting elections used to visit the voters and there was a personal connection between the voter and the candidate, but now votes are sought on phone,' 116-year-old Judhya Devi said.
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 10:07 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 10:07 IST

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Shimla: Meeting people to garner support for polls is now a thing of the past and advanced technology has replaced the personal touch between voters and party leaders or workers seeking votes, said Himachal Pradesh's oldest voter.

Recalling memories from her past, 116-year-old Judhya Devi said instead of door-to-door visits that once defined political campaigns in her village, mobile phones have now become the medium of contact for voters and party candidates contesting polls.

"Earlier party leaders contesting elections used to visit the voters and there was a personal connection between the voter and the candidate, but now votes are sought on phone," she said.

Judhya is the oldest voter in the state, an official of the Himachal Pradesh election department told PTI.

Of the total 56,45,579 electors in the state, 1,31,642 are aged above, he added.

Life has been harsh for Judhya who has remained a widow for the past three decades. She lives with her youngest daughter Thakuri Devi (58), also a widow, and her two sons in Kot village on the border of Bilaspur and Mandi districts, about 51 km from the state capital.

"Our times were good, people had time for each other. Principles, care for voters and personal contact connected voters with their political leaders but now development and technology has replaced personal touch," said Thakuri, an Anganwadi worker, conveying her mother's sentiments.

Asked about her expectations from the party coming to power at the Centre, Thakuri said both she and her mother hoped that her sons who are now working in private companies land up government jobs so that they have a secure future.

Judhya has been unwell for quite some time but still exercised her franchise by casting her vote in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls during a home voting procedure in a nearby house where she was taken in a vehicle.

Born on January 1, 1908, Judhya has been a witness to the election process starting from the time when stamps were put on ballot paper to the use of EVMs followed by VVPAT.

Shyam Saran Negi, the first voter of Independent India and former icon of the Election Commission of India, was a resident of Kalpa in the state's Kinnaur district. Negi, who died at the age of 105 on November 5, 2022 is being missed in Lok Sabha polls 2024.

He had become the first voter of the country when elections were held on October 25, 1951 in Kinnaur, ahead of other parts of the country which went to polls in February, 1952. Negi was a member of the polling team in 1951 and was first to cast his first vote in Shonthong polling station.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Will it be Narendra Modi's 'Viksit Bharat' or Rahul Gandhi's I.N.D.I.A.? As the world's largest democracy votes to choose its future, track live news, in-depth opinions, and analyses only on Deccan Herald.

Assembly Elections 2024 | Don't miss out on our detailed coverage of the polls in Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. Subscribe and follow DH on Whatsapp, X, Facebook, and Instagram to never miss out on anything.

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Published 28 May 2024, 10:07 IST

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