Jharkhand Election 2019: Voting on in 16 seats in final phase; ex-CM Hemant Soren, 2 ministers in fray
Jharkhand Assembly Election 2019: There are 237 candidates contesting 16 assembly seats in the fifth and the final phase of voting including social welfare minister Louis Marandi from Dumka, agriculture minister Randhir Singh from Sarath, former chief minister and JMM working president Hemant Soren from Dumka and Barhait.Updated: Dec 20, 2019 07:42 IST
Voting in the fifth and final phase of polling for Jharkhand assembly election is taking place on Friday. More than four million people will cast their votes in 16 assembly constituencies in this phase that will decide the fate of two ministers and a former chief minister.
Altogether 237 candidates are contesting in 16 of the state’s 81 assembly seats including social welfare minister Louis Marandi from Dumka, agriculture minister Randhir Singh from Sarath, former chief minister and JMM working president Hemant Soren from Dumka and Barhait, former deputy chief minister Stephan Marandi from Maheshpur and former speaker Alamgir Alam from Pakur. There are 29 women contestants in the final and the fifth phase of Jharkhand assembly elections.
Of the 16 seats, five area considered to be Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected.
Chief electoral officer (CEO), Vinay Kumar Choubey said, “Few pockets in this phase are affected by left-wing extremism (LWE). We have ensured adequate security in every booth. Eight polling stations falling in LWE hit areas have already been relocated. Besides, officials of 28 polling stations in LWE sensitive areas have been heli-dropped.”
He said out of total 5,389 polling stations, 396 have been declared hyper LWE sensitive, while 208 LWE sensitive. “Besides, 1,321 polling stations have been declared hyper sensitives and 1,765 sensitives for other various reasons,” Choubey said.
The fifth and final phase is going to be crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and opposition’s alliance, a group of three parties - JMM, Congress and RJD - as the 16 seats, fall in six districts of Santhal Pargana, which is considered stronghold of JMM.
Of the seven seats reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) in fifth round, six seats were with JMM in the last election and three seats won by Congress. The alliance is leaving no stone unturned to increase the number of seats from the region.
BJP is looking to sustain its winning habit having swept the Lok Sabha polls and key states this year on the back of Narendra Modi’s popularity. However, BJP had lost one of the three parliamentary seats in the general election this year in Santhal Pargana.
In 2014 assembly elections, BJP had won five seats. However, former state BJP president Tala Marandi, who won Borio seat in past election, has shifted side and contesting on the AJSU Party ticket from the seat.
Two seats went to JVM-P in the past elections but one of its legislator Randhir Singh defected to BJP after formation of Raghubar Das government. Singh is contesting on BJP ticket from Sarath seat this assembly polls.
Of the total 237 candidates in poll fray, 58 contestants have declared criminal charges against them in the self-sworn affidavit to the election commission, while 42 of them have declared facing serious criminal cases.
In the final phase, BJP has fielded seven candidates with criminal charges, while opposition’s alliance has put eight such contestants, according to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
As many as 51 crorepati candidates are in te fray for the fifth phase of Jharkhand polls where a total of 237 candidates are contesting from remaining 16 assembly seats.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) candidate Birendra Pradhan, who is contesting from Jarmnudi, is the richest candidate in the fifth phase with total assets worth Rs 37.54 crore, who is followed by AJSU Party candidate Aquil Akhtar from Pakur seat having total assets worth Rs 36.53 crore, according to the ADR.
In a bid to woo voters to the polling stations, the election commission has declared 249 polling stations as model booths, while 133 booths would be operated by women. Web casting facility will be available in 1,347 sensitive booths.
CEO said a total of 7,505 volunteers and 2,065 wheel chairs have been put into service in different polling booths for more than 49,446 differently-abled voters. Altogether 2,766 vehicles would provide them pick and drop facility.
Election officials said 8,987 ballot units, 6,738 control units and 7,006 VVPATs would be used in the phase.