Despite Losing Father, Howrah DM Returned To Conduct Polls Next Day

Kolkata:  Howrah’s District Magistrate and District Election Officer Mukta Arya was congratulated by chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay and the Election Commission of India for her exceptional performance in conducting the polls of the seven assembly constituencies of Howrah on Tuesday but hardly did anyone know that this young IAS discharged her professional duties soon after she lost her father.

Arya’s father died on Monday night of a sudden cardiac arrest and keeping his body in the mortuary, Arya was back at her desk to conduct the poll process.

“We had asked her to take a break but she was determined to conduct the polls and all through the day she performed all her duties excellently. She didn’t even take a break till night so long as the entire poll process was not over. This is commendable and no words can express her professional dedication,” a state election commission official said.

Arya’s father Radheshyam Arya, a resident of Delhi, was the commissioner of labour commission in the national Capital and he came to his daughter before the election to help her during this tough time.

Sources in the Howrah administration said that Radheshyam had a cardiac arrest on Monday night and was immediately rushed to a private hospital but he didn’t survive.

“Though there were requests from the top administrative level to take leave but Mukta decided to perform her duties and was in the election control room sending reports and coordinating as rural Howrah went to polls in the third phase of the state elections,” a senior official at Howrah’s DM office said.

Highly placed sources in the state administration said that on Monday when chief secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay for a separate reason he came to know that her father was admitted in a private hospital in a critical condition.

Bandopadhyay immediately asked the ADM (Election) to take charge and suggested to take help from Abhishek Tiwari, another IAS officer, who was DM of Jalpaiguri before. “The commission was also informed as Mukta was the main person behind conducting the polls in Howrah but to everyone’s surprise Mukta came back to her office and conducted the polls,” a senior official of the state government said.

Mukta was one of the three district magistrates of South 24 parganas, Howrah and Hooghly respectively who conducted one of the most crucial elections of the ongoing polls in the state.

Mukta, however, was not willing to say anything regarding her personal life and only said, “Election is peaceful and there are no reports of violence from anywhere,” but close aides of this 2008 batch officer said that she had promised her father of conducting a peaceful election and she has kept her word.