The Reasi district administration was presented the National Award for the Best Performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by the Election Commission (EC) in a ceremony held at north zone symposium in Chandigarh on Friday. The award is presented for the second time by the EC to recognise the best electoral practices in the state. The district was rated as the best performer among all 22 districts.
Deputy commissioner (DC) of Kathua Shahid Iqbal Choudhary accepted the award on behalf of the entire administration for taking a series of initiatives to increase voter participation. Choudhary was posted as the DC of Reasi during the recent elections, which registered nearly an 81% voter turnout compared to the turnout of 43% during the 2009 parliamentary elections in the district.
One the main reasons for this considerable increase was the Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme conducted by the EC throughout the district for nearly eight months before the polls for creating awareness amongst voters. Heading the district administration, Choudhary established 53 model polling stations and carried out 35 campaigns for increasing voter participation.
During the award ceremony, Choudhary made a detailed presentation of the district's achievements with regard to organising elections. The ceremony was attended by election commissioners Syed Nasim Zaid, HS Brahma, deputy EC Vinod Zutshi and director general Akshay Raout. Senior officers from 12 states and 30 selected participants, including district electoral officers, also attended the symposium.
A report titled 'Celebrating India's Vibrant Democracy -success story from the Reasi district' written by Choudhary was released by the election commissioners. Ten compact disks on various SVEEP campaigns conducted by the district administration were also released during the function.