Campaigning in 16 Maoists-infested assembly constituencies, going to polling on December 18 in the fifth and final phase of Jharkhand elections, came to end on Wednesday evening with administration making unprecedented security arrangements to ensure fair and peaceful voting.
Over 70,000 security personnel, including para-military forces and state police, have so far been deployed in the 16 constituencies, spread in seven Maoists-hit districts, to thwart any move of the ultra-Left extremists to stop public from casting their franchise.
Besides the security personnel, six helicopters would be on 24-hour alert to keep a vigil on the movement of Maoists troop from air, the Jharkhand Police spokesperson and Inspector General V H Deshmukh told Hindustan Times in Ranchi on Wednesday.
The constituencies where polling would be held in the final phase are Chaibasa, Jagannathpur (West Singhbhum district), Kharsawan, Seraikela (Seraikela district), Barkattha (Hazaribag), Garhwa, Bhawnathpur (Garhwa), Panki Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad (Palamu), Simaria, Chatra (Chatra district) and Latehar and
Manika (in Manika district).
A total of 290 candidates, including 23 women, are contesting from these 16 seats. A total of 33,93,172 electors are eligible to cast their franchise on 4579 polling stations. Of total polling station, 15 are auxiliary polling booths. State Joint Chief Electoral Officer A.K Sinha said a total of 5110 control unit of electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be required at these booths.
Polling for Barkatha, earlier scheduled for the second phase on December 2, was rescheduled for the last phase after the BJP candidate Chittaranjan Yadav died of illness. The BJP later nominated Yadav's son Amit as its candidate from Barkatha.
The Jharkhand police recently held a series of meetings with its counterparts in neighboring Bihar, Uttar Pradesh,
Chhatisgarh and Orissa to ensure ban on cross-border interstate movement of Maoists during the elections.
A home department official said police of neighboring states have been requested to ensure that the troupe of armed
Maoists dont make entry in Jharkhand from their areas.