Maoists blow up culvert amid 1st phase of polling in Jharkhand, none hurt
A culvert on Gumla-Lohardaga border was blown up by Maoists on Saturday soon after the voting began in the first phase of polls in Jharkhand. However, no casualty was reported and election officials claimed that the poll process was unaffected by the incident.
“There was a report of a bomb blast and a culvert was reportedly blown up. We are probing the incident,” said Gumla deputy commissioner Shashi Ranjan.
Ranjan said the poll process was unaffected by the incident as it took place in a forest area. “There was a polling station in the area but it had been relocated to a safer area,” the deputy commissioner said.
The Maoists had reportedly asked voters to boycott the poll process in the state. In wake of which, the state administration had made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peaceful polling.
Polling is underway in thirteen constituencies in six Maoist hit districts of Jharkhand wherein a state minister, eight sitting legislators and state PCC president are key contestants. The thirteen seats are Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur. Of these, Chatra, Gumla, Lohardaga, Latehar and Garhwa are designated by the ministry of home affairs as affected by LWE.
A 3.7 million-strong electorate, including 1.8 million women and five transgender voters, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 189 candidates, including 15 women, in the first phase. Of the total candidates, 44 are facing criminal charges and 59 are crorepatis, according to the poll affidavits.