Polling began on Tuesday in 20 assembly constituencies of Jharkhand amid tight security and the shadow of gun as the polls coinciding with the CPI-Maoists’ PLGA week (December 2-9), an annual event of the banned left wing extremist outfit to commemorate the foundation of their military wing.
As per schedule, the polling stations allowed entry to voters sharp at 7 am at all the 20 constituencies in seven districts. Altogether 223 candidates including 18 sitting legislators are in poll fray. 35 woman candidates are also trying their luck.
Around 50.32% polling was recorded in the 20 constituencies by 1pm
Office of the chief electoral officer termed the polling percentage good. The CEO is expecting 70-75% voter’s turnout by the evening.
In Kolhan range comprising three districts East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Saraikela Kharswan, polling staff and materials were airlifted and dropped at the cluster points in sensitive areas. Three Indian Air Force choppers were pressed in the job.
Unlike previous polls, security forces were sent to the cluster points few days in advance to sanitize and dominate the area. Altogether 1248 booths have been declared hyper sensitive while 1533 sensitive. Around 40,000 security personnel have been deployed at 5,048 polling stations while over 25,000 polling officials were pressed into service to ensure free and fair polls.
Fate of two former chief ministers—Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda—are at stake. Former deputy chief minister Raghubar Das (BJP), state HRD minister Geetashree Oraon (Congress) and agriculture minister Banna Gupta are also in fray.
BJP is contesting on 18 seats. JMM and Congress are fighting on 20 seats.
Former deputy chief minister and candidate from Jamshedpur East Raghubar Das said, “People are coming out to elect a stable government. It is the BJP, which can develop the state.” He also registered complaint with the election commission of malfunctioning of several EVMs in East Singhbhum region.