Voting began in Maoist-hit Jharkhand on Thursday amid a dirsruption in railway activity following Maoists blowing up tracks in Bokaro district.
Bokaro is under Giridih Lok Sabha constituency where polling is on.
Over 8.5 million voters across six constituencies — state capital Ranchi, Giridih, Jamshedpur, Singhbhum (ST), Khunti (ST) and Hazaribagh — are expected choose their pick among the 106 candidates in the fray.
Jharkhand has 14 Lok Sabha seats. Polling was held in four constituencies a week ago. The remaining four constituencies go to polls on April 24.
Some of the prominent names in the second round are Lok Sabha deputy speaker Karia Munda (BJP), Jayant Sinha, son of Yashwant Sinha (BJP), former Team India manager Amitabh Chowdhury of the JVM(P), former deputy chief minister Sudesh Mahto of the AJSU Party and former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai of the Congress.
Multi-cornered contests are on the cards in all six seats. The BJP, Congress, Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and Sibu Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) were the major players in the 2009 polls. But, the entry of the Trinamool Congress, the AJSU Party and the Aam Aadmi Party has made the 2014 polls more interesting.
In 2009, the BJP had won Giridih, Hazaribagh, Khunti and Jamshedpur parliamentary seats. The Congress had bagged Ranchi, while former chief minister Madhu Koda, an accused in a Rs. 3,500-crore money-laundering scam, had won Singhbhum. However, the BJP lost the Jamshedpur seat in 2011 by-polls to JVM(P)'s Ajoy Kumar.
This time, Hazaribagh parliamentarian Yashwant Sinha has vacated the seat for his son Jayant Sinha. Madhu Koda has vacated the Singhbhum seat for his wife Geeta Koda. She is in for a tough fight against Congress' Chitrasen Sinku and BJP's Laxman Gilua.
In Ranchi, sitting MP Subodh Kant Sahai is up against BJP's Ramtahal Choudhary, AJSU's Sudesh Mahto and JVM(P)'s Amitabh Chaudhary.
The going could be tough for Jamshedpur MP Ajoy Kumar, who is facing a challenge from BJP's Bidyut Baran Mahato, who deserted the JMM before the polls. JMM's Niroop Mohanty is the consensus candidate of the Congress-JMM-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance for the seat.
Hazaribagh looks set for an interesting contest in the absence of former Union minister Yashwant Sinha. His son Jayant Sinha will contest sitting Hazaribagh MLA and Congress candidate Saurabh Narain Singh. AJSU's Loknath Mahto might get some sympathy votes after the senior party leader Tilshewar Sahu was shot dead at Barhi in Hazaribagh on March 8.
Karia Munda, seven-time MP from Khunti, is confident of retaining his seat. Jharkhand Party's Enos Ekka, AJSU's Neil Tirkey and Congress' Kalicharan Munda will throw a challenge to the BJP parliamentarian.
Giridih is headed for a triangular contest, as sitting BJP MP Raivndra Pandey is up against JVM(P)'s Saba Ahmad and JMM's Jagarnath Mahto.
A total of 10,136 polling stations have been set up for the second round. Of them, 2779 stations have been declared highly sensitive, while 3425 are sensitive.
Over 48,000 security forces will ensure safe and peaceful elections in the state.Here's a map for the constituencies going to polls on Thursday. On searching, you will get details of all parties fighting from a constituency and key candiates there:
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