The Election Commission’s decision to use web casting to monitor polls in sensitive booths of West Bengal phase one elections has proved successful.
No complaints of booth jamming was reported in the first phase polls on Tuesday, officials of the state’s CEO office said on Wednesday.
“Not a single complaint has arrived from the booths, which were monitored through web casting in the first phase. It seems that because of the web casting, polling in the booths, which where otherwise termed as sensitive, went on smoothly,” additional chief electoral officer NK Sahana said.
It was for the first time in West Bengal elections that the EC decided employ web cameras to monitor sensitive booths. Accordingly, out of the 12,131 polling booths, 174 booths were monitored through web casting. The technology was used in the 2010 Bihar elections too.
The arrangement consists of web cameras installed inside and outside booths to capture images, convert them into media file and distribute them over a network.
Election officials connected to the server were able to watch live images from booths on a monitor throughout the day.
“It helped us monitor the polling on a real-time basis. EC officials took turns before the monitor to keep an eye on the polls. Whenever the queue moved slowly or people were found loitering unnecessarily we alerted the officials on the spot and steps were taken,” a senior officer said.
Booth jamming, that is a slowing down of the poll process with disputed voters entering the voting room in large numbers, and was a regular occurance in Bengal, was not reported at all on Tuesday.
Sahana said that in Kolkata the number of booths to be monitored through web casting would be far higher than in the districts as infrastructure is available. Polls in Kolkata would be held in the third phase on April 27.
Apart from web casting, digital cameras and video cameras were also deployed in many polling booths on April 18 to keep record and maintain vigil.
Of the 12,131 booths, where polls were held in the first phase across six districts, re-polling was ordered only into two booths. While one was in Natabari constituency, the other was in Karandighi.
“Re-polling in the two booths was held on Wednesday. The polling percentage was high,” Sahana said.