Hundred and three-year-old Shyam Saran Negi cast his vote yesterday for the 32nd time since 1951 when he had first exercised his franchise. And he cast his vote at the same polling booth at the village Kalpa in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Negi has voted in all 16 Lok Sabha elections; he has also voted in 13 Assembly and two territorial council elections. The local administration had made arrangements to ferry him from his home to the polling booth in a primary school nearby and accorded him a hero's welcome when he arrived to cast his ballot.
Stories of bravery
While many among the Congress party leaders continue to question the "authenticity" of the Balakot air strikes, the Congress government in Rajasthan has included a chapter about the Indian Air Force fighter jets attacking terrorist camps across the Line of Control in a school textbook. The chapter not only speaks of the valour of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman — who was held under captivity for 60 hours in Pakistan after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight — but also waxes eloquent about Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Jaipur Rural who won a silver medal for the country at the 2004 Summer Olympics. The two stories are part of the chapter, National Security and Tradition of Bravery, which appear in a new textbook meant for Class 9 students.
O P Ravindranath Kumar, the son of Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) coordinator O Pannerselvam, found himself in the middle of a controversy when a plaque in a temple was spotted depicting his name as Theni Member of Parliament (MP) though the election results have not been declared yet. When a picture of the plaque became viral on social media, the temple management moved in quickly and covered it with a new one that omitted the “MP” bit. However, the episode triggered allegations of foul play at a time when the Election Commission has already announced repolling to be held in some booths in the Theni constituency. Kumar was swift in denying the allegations and said he was not aware of the plaque till it was pointed out to him on Friday. The culprit was later identified as a former police constable and AIADMK follower who had once shaved off his head praying for the success of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.