Curtains came down Thursday on campaigning in Jharkhand for the first phase of polling to be held on Saturday in 13 assembly constituencies. A total of 37,83,055 voters of Chatra (SC), Gumla (ST), Bishunpur (ST), Lohardaga (ST), Manika (SC), Latehar (SC), Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur (SC), Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur constituencies will decide the fate of 189 candidates in the first phase.
Voting will take place across 3,906 polling stations, out of which 989 will have webcasting facilities, an Election Commission release said. Polling will begin at 7 am and conclude at 3 pm, the release said, adding, there will be separate queues for the differently-abled along with ramp and wheelchair facilities.
The notable candidates in the fray are BJP leader and Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, and Jharkhand PCC president and ex-IPS officer Rameshwar Oraon.
The BJP is contesting in 12 seats in the first phase, while it is supporting Independent Vinod Singh from Hussainabad.
The opposition alliance of the JMM, Congress and RJD will contest in four, six and three constituencies, respectively.
Amit Shah election rallies in Chatra, Garwah
On the last day of the campaigning, Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah addressed two rallies at Chatra and Garwah and criticised the Congress for delaying abrogation of Article 370 and the Ram temple dispute resolution.
Addressing a rally in Chatra, Shah said that the Maoists have been wiped out from Jharkhand during BJP's rule.
"Naxals have been buried 20 feet inside the earth. In last five years of the BJP rule in the state and Centre, Maoists have been wiped out. Earlier people were fearful to step out from the house and now one can take baraat even in midnight," news agency IANS quoted him as saying.
He said: "Lots of work have been done in the state. Industries have been set up, electricity has reached houses, roads have been constructed, toilets have been built. BJP government gave respect to women who had to go to fields to relieve themselves. Rahul Baba will not understand these things as he was not born in a poor family. The pain of poor people is understood by Narendra Modi as he came from a poor background, selling tea at railway station."
Eyeing OBC votes, Shah said, "It was the BJP government which gave constitutional status to OBC Aayog which was not done by the Congress in the last 60 years. Give us second time and we will form a committee to give maximum reservation to the OBC.
At present the OBC have been given only 14 per cent reservation in Jharkhand.
He said, "I want to ask Hemant Soren. What was the stand of the Congress when separate Jharkhand state was being created. Congress kept it pending. It was the BJP government led by Atalji which created the Jharkhand state".
He also targeted Congress over terrorism, keeping the Ram dispute and removal of Article 370 and 35A pending for vote bank politics.
"They say what Jharkhand has nothing to do with the removal of Article 370 and Ram temple. Rahul should listen to the voice of the people who wanted Article 370 removed and temple constructed at Ayodhya. Congress wanted to delay the case related to Ram temple, but it was Modi government which facilitated hearings in the Supreme Court."
Shah paid homage to four cops killed a few days ago in Latehar district.
"I want to tell family members of slain cops that their blood will not go in vain," Shah added.
Rahul Gandhi to hold 4 rallies in poll-bound Jharkhand from December
Meanwhile, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi will address four elections rallies in poll-bound Jharkhand starting from December 2.
Gandhi will kickstart his poll campaign from Simdega in the state, which is going to the polls in five phases starting from November 30 to December 20, results for which will be declared on December 23.
The party leader said that the Gandhi scion will address one rally in each of the four phases starting from the second phase. The Congress, which is in alliance for the assembly polls with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Hemant Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), is contesting on 31 out of 81 seats in the state.
The Congress has released a list of 40 star campaigners for the Jharkhand assembly elections.
In the 2014 assembly elections, the JMM, Congress and the JVM had formed an alliance. However, the JVM has moved away this time.
The Congress-JMM have aligned with the RJD this time. In the 2014 elections to the 81-member Jharkhand assembly, the BJP had won 37 seats, the JMM got 19, the Congress took six, the AJSU bagged five, the JVM had eight, while the six remaining seats were won by other parties.
-with inputs from agencies