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HindustanTimes Sun,24 Aug 2014

Record 62% turnout, peaceful voting in Jharkhand

B Vijay Murty, Hindustan Times  Ranchi, April 16, 2014
First Published: 23:46 IST(16/4/2014) | Last Updated: 01:08 IST(18/4/2014)

A record 62 % of the electorate in Jharkhand turned up to cast votes for the six Lok Sabha constituencies that went to polls on Thursday amid stray incidents of violence.

Polling was delayed in several booths of Hazaribagh constituency due to faulty EVMs, said the chief electoral officer of Ranchi.

In the 2009 elections, these six constituencies – Giridih, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Singhbhum (ST), Khunti (ST) and Hazaribagh – had 51% voter turnout.

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Even the sensitive, Maoist-affected constituencies of Giridih, Singhbhum and Khunti saw a high voter turnout this time.

However, three CRPF jawans and a civilian were injured in a landmine explosion triggered by Maoists at Gomia police station area of Bokaro in Giridih constituency.

In another incident, Maoists blew up railway tracks between Dania police station and Jogeswar Bihar railway station under the Dhanbad railway division in Bokaro district.

Polling was also disrupted at a booth in Gadih High School under the Sonua police station area of West Singhbhum district after a high intensity bomb was recovered from the site.

However, these incidents did not dampen the enthusiasm of the voters. Both Giridih and Singhbhum saw turnout of over 62%. Jamshedpur constituency saw the highest turnout at 65%, Ranchi had around 59% while Hazaribagh and Khunti had 61% each.

From first-time voters to the elderly – such as governor Syed Ahmad's 107-year-old mother Sabra Khatoon – people turned up in large numbers came to exercise their franchise and choose their next Prime Minister.

"The record turnout of voters in areas affected by left-wing extremism is a positive sign for all of us," said director general of police Rajiv Kumar.

"Barring the incident at Giridih where the CRPF commandant jumped the security instruction and strayed into the danger zone on a vehicle, the voting has been largely peaceful and successful."

Of the six constituencies, BJP has sitting MPs in Giridih, Khunti and Hazaribagh, and the saffron party is riding high on the hype around its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Congress has a sitting MP in Ranchi, Subodh Kant Sahai, who is seeking re-election. Hazaribagh's sitting MP, Yashwant Sinha of the BJP, is letting his son Jayant Sinha fight from the seat this time. Other key candidates include BJP's Karia Munda from Khunti and AJSU's Sudesh Mahto from Ranchi.


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