It Is Because Of The Modi Government That Bengal’s Asgar Ali Is India’s Oldest First-Time Voter

It was an different scene to see a frail and doddering old man walking towards the polling booth on May 4 so as to cast his vote for the very first time.

At 103-years, Mohammed Asgar Ali looked frail but his face was beaming with pride to be able to cast his maiden vote.


And do you know why it was his first? Because he is from Dinhata constituency of Cooch Behar district, which was until before the enclave exchanges last year not officially a part of India.

So it was also a family and enclave affair for Ali as he was accompanied by his son, grandson, other family members and members of the enclave society all of whom went to cast their first vote.


A special vehicle was brought in for them by the Election Commission and the polling station even literally rolled out the red carpet for these voters.


It was just recently that the Enclave dwellers were given their EPIC (Electoral Photo Identity Card), thus giving Ali the opportunity to participate in the electoral process.


A complex territorial division created enclaves or islands of foreign territory inside both India and Bangladesh. No one before the Modi government was able to get a breakthrough.

It was only in August last year that the age-old problem of identity for thousands of people on both sides of the border ended as 111 enclaves of India and 51 enclaves of Bangladesh were exchanged.


For the past 68 years, these Indians were living in an area that was a virtual no-man’s land. Finally, they got an identity and it was this joy which made Asgar Ali’s face beam with a radiant smile.

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