Voting since 1951, 103-year-old Jalandhar man eager to cast ballot again

By Gunjan Sharma Jalandhar, Apr 14 (PTI) Jeevan Das, 103, who cast his vote in India's first general election in 1951, is excited to exercise his franchise again this year.The centenarian claims he has never failed to vote in any election."I have not missed a single election ever since the process began in the country. Be it a municipal election or the Lok Sabha polls, I have always made it a point to cast my vote. I am eagerly waiting to vote this time too," Das told PTI."I was 35 years old then. Common people like us did not even know what voting meant. We just knew that we are free after the independence struggle and voting is something which will make us even more free," he said.Recalling the old times, Das said a lot has changed over the years, including women going out to vote."Women did not use to go out much. I would go with my father and elder brother while our wives and my mother stayed home with the kids," he said.What has not changed, however, is that people still vote keeping the prime ministerial face in mind, said Das, who lives in Arjun Nagar area here with his son."Even then people did not vote to elect representatives for their constituencies but for the prime minister. Like today people will either vote for Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi, back then people voted for Jawaharlal Nehru," he said.The centenarian feels that unlike differently-abled people, not much has been done to make voting easier for the elderly."The election process in the country has undergone a tremendous makeover over the decades and has changed for good. But still there are no facilities for elderly people. They have so many options for differently-abled people but not for us," Das rued.He said it would be a lot more convenient if authorities could arrange for people above 80 years of age to vote at home."These days people do not live that long so the number of such people would be less and making arrangements for them will not be a difficult task," he added.Polling will be held across 13 Lok Sabha constituencies in Punjab, including Jalandhar, in the seventh and last phase of general elections on May 19.Results will be announced on May 23. PTI GJS DIVDIV