Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Centenarian raring to ink finger

Retired teacher has voted in every election since 1951

By Manoj Kumar Ojha in Doomdooma
  • Published 26.03.19, 2:10 AM
  • Updated 26.03.19, 2:10 AM
  • a min read
Anjana Tanti Picture by Manoj Kumar Ojha

She is a champion of democracy and keen to exercise her franchise in the 17th Lok Sabha elections next month in Assam.

Meet 105-year-old Anjana Tanti, a tea garden voter and a retired teacher at Bessakopee tea estate in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district, a most senior citizen of the country and regular voter.

She first voted in the general election of 1951-52. She considers voting her duty rather than a privilege or right and has witnessed immense changes in the election procedure and the way candidates are chosen by political parties.

“On voting day, I get up earlier than usual, get ready, sip a cup of sweet tea and go as early as 8am to the booth to make sure nobody votes before me,” she told The Telegraph.

“In the 1950s, ballot boxes in green and yellow were used. I had worked several times as a polling officer. The voting procedure was not strict .The opportunity to vote was highly appreciated by the citizens.”

Tanti’s failing health does not prevent her from going to vote with enthusiasm.

“I am always excited to vote, either in the Lok Sabha, Assembly or gaon panchayat elections. I went to see Indira Gandhi and later Atal Bihari Vajpayee when they were Prime Ministers. Everyone should vote honestly and stand by the promise of democracy. It is always fascinating to me,” she said.

She said it is a positive sign that people are more aware now and said proper regulation of election funds was needed.

“We need to vote for better candidates. Not voting is not a solution. Youngsters should not take elections lightly and instead take charge. I love democracy and it is because of it that we are safe and sound,” she said.

Village headman Mridul Tanti said, “We have been seeing aaita (grandmother) since our childhood days. She always casts her vote. For the last few years we have been making special arrangements to take her and all other senior voters of our village to the polling booth.”