Ranchi: The first phase of polling in Jharkhand recorded a voter turnout of more than 52 percent till 3 p.m. as thirteen constituencies in six districts of the state went to the polls on Saturday, the initial reports said.
Polling began at 7 a.m. for 13 seats of Jharkhand Assembly polls and ended at 3 p.m., said officials.
In the first phase, polling took place in Maoist affected area amid heavy security arrangements.
Minor clashes have been reported between the BJP and the Congress at Daltanganj assembly seat. Congress candidate KN TRiptahy waved his revolver in the air after he was stopped to enter into a polling booth. The election commission has sought a report and canceled the license.
The 13 seats included Chatra (SC) Gumla (ST) Bishunpur (ST) Lohardaga (ST) Manika (ST) Latehar (SC) Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chattarpur (SC) Hussainabad, Garhwa, and Bhawnathpur.
The total number of eligible voters was 37,78,963, which include 19,79,991 male, 17,98,966 women voters and five from the third gender.
A total of 189 candidates are in the race, including 15 women out of which a maximum of 28 candidates was in Bhawnathpur Seat and a minimum of nine were fighting from the Chatra seat.
According to an election commission official, there are 4,892 booths out of which 4,585 are a location in rural areas and another 307 in urban areas.
In the first phase, the webcasting facility has been provided at 1,262 booths while the number of ‘Sakhi Booths’ is 121 and model polling booths 417.
This time polling booths have been divided into Maoist and non-Maoist areas on the basis of which 1,097 polling stations are hypersensitive and 461 are sensitive.
Heavy security arrangements have bee made for peaceful polling. Helicopters are being used for airlifting and dropping of the poll officials in difficult terrain and Maoist hit areas.
The important candidates, whose fate will be decided in first phase polling, include Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, Congress state chief Rameshwar Oraon, and former Minister and BJP candidate Bhanu Pratap Shahi.
BJP is fighting on 12 seats and supporting Independent on one seat. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress, RJD fighting poll in the alliance have fielded candidates on four, six three seats respectively.
On nine seats the fight is directly between BJP and JMM, Congress and RJD alliance.
The fight is triangular on three seats — one being Lohardagga, where the fight is between Congress state president Rameshwar Oraon, former state Congress president sitting legislator and now BJP candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat and All Jharkhand Students Union candidate Niru Bhagat.
For the Hussainabad Assembly seat, the fight is four-cornered. Here former Minister and NCP candidate Kamlesh is drawing the attention of the voters. He was the minister in the Madhu Koda Cabinet and went to jail in different scam cases.