With the successful completion of polls in the three seats of Santhal Parganas — Dumka, Rajmahal, Godda — and one seat in the Coal Belt — Dhanbad — on Thursday, the curtains on electioneering in Jharkhand came down successfully.
Voters queue up at a polling station in Deoghar on Thursday. (Binod Kumar Sharma/HT Photo)
The state went to polls in three phases — April 10, April 17 and April 24.
Despite the blistering heat, the third and final phase of elections on Thursday registered 63.44% polling, an improvement of 11.24% over the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, in the four constituencies.
However, the voting percentage was disappointing for the chief electoral officer (CEO), as it could match up to the polling percentage recorded in the second phase in Jharkhand.
Six constituencies in the second phase polls on April 17 had witnessed 65.40% polling.
The first phase polls on April 10 in four constituencies witnessed the lowest percentage of voting — 58.93%.
PK Jajoria, the CEO of Jharkhand, said, "I had expected 70% polling in the final phase based on the trends in the second phase. Polling percentage was encouraging till 2pm. Thereafter, it declined suddenly."
He said the percentage might increase by another 3% as reports from 200 booths are yet to
Constituency wise, Rajmahal registered 66.32%, Dumka 64.86 %, Godda 64.17% and Dhanbad 59.79% polling.
These constituencies hold significance in Jharkhand politics because of the presence of some very high profile politicians in the fray, including JMM chief Sibu Soren, JVM(P) chief Babulal Marandi, his deputy in the party Pradip Yadav, and senior BJP leaders Nishikant Dubey and PN Singh.
The CEO said that barring a few incidents, including a polling party attack in Dumka, minor clashes among supporters of rival groups and poll boycott in two villages in Jamtara in Dumka constituency, elections passed off fairly peacefully.
Jajoria said a total of 119 complaints of snags in electronic voting machines (EVM) were received, of which 105 were rectified on time and polling did not suffer.
With conclusion of the final phase, Jharkhand's overall poll percentage reached 63%, an improvement of 12% over the 2009 elections when the overall poll percentage was recorded at 50.97%.
Now, the fate of 240 candidates from the 14 parliamentary seats is sealed in the EVMs that would be reopened on May 16, paving way for the formation of a new government at the Centre.
Giving details of EVM management after the polls, Jajoria said strong rooms have been set up at 14 district headquarters under two layer security cover of central paramilitary forces and the state armed forces.
As per the Election Commission guidelines, there would be a single door in the strong room and CCTV cameras are mandatory.
"Security personnel will maintain a logbook and keep records of every entry," Jajoria said.
He added that political parties could also set up tent near the strong room to keep eye on any anomalies.
The election model code of conduct would be in force till May 28.