Elections were largely peaceful, except for one case where a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate's personal security officer (PSO) was involved in a scuffle, Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla said.
Over 52 per cent of the 65,32,234 voters exercised their franchise in Phase-I of the five phases of Jharkhand Assembly elections on Wednesday.
Polling was held in 26 constituencies amidst tight security and surveillance by six helicopters. Due to Maoists’ threat, polling ended at 3 p.m. itself instead of 5 p.m.
Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla described the polling as “peaceful” barring a few stray incidents of violence. In the Poreyahat constituency, in a clash between Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate Suraj Mandal and some locals, Mr. Mandal’s personal security officer fired five rounds in the air.
Abstain from voting
About 591 tribal voters, spread over Khirwasari, Pesarpur and Padanbona villages in the Deoghar constituency, abstained from voting, saying their areas were yet to be provided with electricity under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electricity Programme.
A total of 470 candidates, including 34 women, were in the fray. While the Godda and the Tundi constituencies had the maximum of 25 candidates each, the Jugsalai (SC) seat had only 11 contestants.
Polling was held through 8176 polling booths and the JMM fielded a maximum of 25 candidates. It was followed by the BSP-24, the BJP-23, the RJD-19 and the Congress-18.
The second phase will be held on December 2, third phase on 8th, fourth on 12th and the fifth one on 18th of the month. The results will be announced on December 23.
PTI reports from Ranchi:
The high-pitch campaigning for the first phase saw the multi-crore money laundering case allegedly involving the former Chief Minister, Madhu Koda, and his associates raised by different parties, with the Congress and the BJP blaming each other for “nurturing” Mr. Koda.