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Boost for Mamata: EC awards 3 Bengal districts for ensuring efficient assembly polls

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 5:45 IST

The Trinamool Congress received a boost when the Election Commission awarded three districts of West Bengal - Birbhum, Purulia, Burdwan - for conducting the most efficient and peaceful elections in 2016. The awards were handed out to the respective district magistrates by President Pranab Mukherjee on the National Voters Day on 24 January.

Birbhum, Purulia and Burdwan were chosen from 716 districts in five states - Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Assam, Bengal - which went to assembly elections last year.

Incidentally, all three districts had reported "disturbances" during the polls, and there were allegations of booth capturing as well. Moreover, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee had picked a fight with the EC for transferring a few district magistrates and police chiefs to ensure free and fair polls.

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An EC official in Kolkata said Purulia was chosen for the award because all polling booths in the district provided "adequate wheelchair facilities". Also, according to the district magistrate Tanmay Chakraborty, his administration devised and run an innovative campaign, based around a fictitious character called Voteswar, to get nearly 98% voters to the booths.

Asked about the awards, Partha Chatterjee, Bengal's parliamentary affairs minister, said, "We are proud that the EC has chosen three districts in West Bengal for conducting peaceful elections. This shows that the allegations made by the opposition parties of mass booth capturing by the Trinamool were totally false and baseless."

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First published: 25 January 2017, 8:54 IST