Shimla, Oct 1 (IANS): In the run up to the Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Electoral Officer Maneesh Garg on Saturday felicitated 103-year old retired government teacher Pyar Singh, who has been declared district icon, by visiting his house in Chamba town.
All voters above the age of 80 years were honoured across the state with a citation signed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar at functions to mark the International Day of Older Persons.
Singh first voted in year 1952 and since then he has never missed an opportunity to cast his vote. He normally walks to the nearest polling booth at Hatnala Mohalla to cast his vote. He is a retired school teacher from Government Boys School in Chamba.
"It is a unique initiative of Election Commission of India (ECI) to honour and thank the elderly voters on October 1, which is marked as International Day for Older Persons and the day inspires millions of young voters," said Garg.
He said the contribution of elderly voters in the electoral process is important.
The CEO also released an election mascot bearing a tagline "Mu Bi Gaana Vote Paana" (I will also go to vote) under SVEEP activities for awareness of the people.
It is an SVEEP mascot, named 'Bholu' dressed in traditional Gaddi attire, urging voters to go and cast vote and at the same time giving a message for the conservation of brown bear, an endangered species mostly found in the Kugti Wildlife Sanctuary of Chamba.
The hill state, which is likely to go to the polls for 68-member Assembly in November, has 122,093 voters above 80 years of age. A total of 1,190 of them are above 100 years.
The Sullah Assembly constituency in Kangra district has 2,936 elderly, while Fatehpur seat in Kangra has 72 centenarian voters, the highest in the state.