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This article is more than 1 year old.

Jharkhand Assembly polls: 64% voter turnout in Phase 1 amid minor clashes; Maoists blow up bridge

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Jharkhand witnessed around 63 percent polling in the first phase of the vote in the 13 Assembly constituencies on Saturday. Defying the Maoist boycott call, voters queued up in large numbers at polling stations since morning to cast their votes.

Jharkhand Assembly polls: 64% voter turnout in Phase 1 amid minor clashes; Maoists blow up bridge
Jharkhand witnessed 64.44 percent polling in the first phase of the vote in the 13 Assembly constituencies on Saturday, which is one per cent more than 63.29 per cent recorded in these seats in the 2014 elections.
Defying the Maoist boycott call, voters queued up in large numbers at polling stations since morning to cast their votes. According to Election Commission final data, the polling per cent was 64.44. The highest polling 71.47 percent was recorded at Lohardagga and the lowest 56.59 percent at the Chatra seat.
Minor clashes were reported between workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in the Daltanganj Assembly seat. Congress candidate K.N. Triptahy waved his licenced revolver in the air after he was stopped from entering a polling booth. The Election Commission has sought report on the incident and has cancelled his licence.
In an attempt to intimidate voters, Maoists blew up a bridge in Gumla, just before polling began, police said. According to officials, polling has not been affected due to blast.
This bridge ran between Ghaghra-Kathkothwa highway and after Maoists found that their threats to boycott the polling process was not being adhered to by the public, the insurgents carried out the attack.
The 13 seats included Chatra (SC) Gumla (ST) Bishunpur (ST) Lohardaga (ST) Manika (ST) Latehar (SC) Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chattarpur (SC) Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawnathpur.
The total number of eligible voters is 37,78,963, which include 19,79,991 male, 17,98,966 women voters and five from the third gender.
A total of 189 candidates are in the race, including 15 women out of which a maximum of 28 candidates was in Bhawnathpur Seat and a minimum of nine were fighting from the Chatra seat.
According to election commission official, there are 4,892 booths out of which 4,585 are located in rural areas and another 307 in urban areas.
In the first phase, webcasting facility has been provided at 1,262 booths while the number of 'Sakhi Booths' is 121 and model polling booths 417.
This time polling booths have been divided into Maoist and non-Maoist areas on the basis of which 1,097 polling stations are hypersensitive and 461 are sensitive.
Heavy security arrangements have bee made for peaceful polling. Helicopters are being used for airlifting and dropping of the poll officials in difficult terrain and Maoist hit areas.
The important candidates, whose fate will be decided in first phase polling, include Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, Congress state chief Rameshwar Oraon and former Minister and BJP candidate Bhanu PRatap Shahi.
BJP is fighting on 12 seats and supporting Independent on one seat. The Jharkahnd Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress, RJD fighting poll in alliance have fielded candidates on four, six three seats respectively.
On nine seats the fight is directly between BJP and JMM, Congress and RJD alliance.
The fight is triangular on three seats -- one being Lohardagga, where the fight is between Congress state president Rameshwar Oraon, former state Congress president sitting legislator and now BJP candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat and All Jharkhand Students Union candidate Niru Bhagat.
For the Hussainabad Assembly seat the fight is four-cornered. Here former Minister and NCP candidate Kamlesh is drawing attention of the voters. He was minister in the Madhu Koda Cabinet and went to jail in different scam cases.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Raghubar Das has appealed to voters to vote in large number.
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