For the last several decades 103-year-old Asgar Ali had been waiting patiently for this moment in his life when his voice is heard in the formation of a government.
Early Thursday morning, he fulfilled his dream as he walked out of a polling booth in Dinhata constituency of Cooch Behar district of the east Indian state of West Bengal along with voters from three generations of his family.
He is the eldest among 9,776 voters in the erstwhile Indo-Bangladesh border enclaves (Chitmahal) who were eligible to vote for the first time on Thursday since Independence after a formal inclusion into the Indian territory last year. Beaming with pride, Ali happily posed for cameras while flashing the ink mark on his index finger. “It is like a dream come true for me. I am satisfied now but not sure whether I will be there during next elections,” he told reporters.
Accompanying him was his, 24-year-old grandson Jaynal Abedin who said his grandfather was very excited ever since he got his voter identity card. Ali has two sons, five daughters and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“Since nobody from our family or our neighbourhood had ever voted, we didn’t know how to cast vote. But we got help from polling officials who explained everything,” Abedin said. The Election Commission had made special arrangements and awareness programs for the first-time voters.