First to Vote

Jamshed Adrianvala gets a thrill out of being the first to vote at any election. He was there, before anyone else, at the booth during the recent Parsi Panchayet polls too

By Mahafreed Irani

An active amateur sailor, 75-year-old Jamshed Adrianvala loves waking up early in the morning on Election Day, just so that he can make it to the poll booth before others. He is usually the first to cast his vote during the Assembly elections, the Lok Sabha polls and, more recently, was the first voter at the Bombay Parsi Panchayet (BPP) elections too. “I just happened to be the first voter at many elections, so I’ve decided to retain the tradition. It gives me a thrill,” says Adrianvala.

On the first day of the Bombay Parsi Panchayet elections, Adrianvala was 45 minutes early, only to be greeted by confused volunteers and candidates. Shocked to see that no code of conduct was in place, he feels that a mock election before D-day would have ensured a smoother election run.

Ask him if voting for the seven trustees was easy and Adrianvala says, “Yes, I personally know a few of the candidates and only after studying their manifestos in detail did I come to vote.” Happy to have a voice in the matters of one of the richest and oldest apex bodies in the world, Adrianvala says, “If things go wrong with the BPP, I will have to blame myself for not choosing the right candidates.”

The Cuffe Parade resident is in something of a ‘competition’ with his famous neighbour, Anil Ambani, who is also known to land up to vote really early, usually after his morning jog. “We both stay in the same area and have to cast our votes at GD Somani School,”
Adrianvala says. He remembers seeing the entrepreneur come to the poll booth as early as 7am in his jogging suit, only to find him already there. “Anil is always taken aback to see that I am at the booth before him. He even asked me once if I slept at the booth to make sure I got here first,” he recalls, smiling.

At the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Adrianvala is not only known as an active yachtsman, he is also well-known for being the first voter at the club elections. “I feel more responsible than  those running the elections,” he says.