Campaigning in 17 Jharkhand assembly constituencies ended on Tuesday as the third of the five-phase polling in the seats will be held on December 12.
According to the Election Commissions latest updated list of voters about 56.18 lakh electorate, including female and third gender voters, are eligible to decide the fate of 309 candidates, including 32 women nominees in the 17 constituencies.
In all, 7016 polling stations have been set up to conduct smooth polling, an EC release said.
The voting will commence at 7 am and end at 5 pm on Thursday at Ranchi, Hatia, Kanke, Barkatha and Ramgarh seats while voters in the rest of the constituencies can exercise their franchise between 7 am and 3 pm, Election Commission officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned in favour of BJP. Besides him, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP Working President J P Nadda and Union minister Smriti Irani sought vote for nominees of the saffron party at different places.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha addressed election meetings in support of party candidates in separate areas.
According to police sources, adequate security personnel, including central para-military and the state police forces have been deployed for smooth and peaceful conduct of the voting.
Notable candidates in the electoral arena are Jharkhand Education Minister and BJP candidate Neera Yadav (Koderma), Urban Development Minister and BJP nominee C P Singh (Ranchi) and sitting MLAs of different parties.
The former chief minister and president of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) Babulal Marandi is contesting Dhanwar seat.
Former deputy chief minister and AJSU party president Sudesh Mahto is crossing swords with sitting JMM MLA Seema Mahato from Silli assembly seat.
Former minister and Congress candidate Rajendra Prasad Singh is taking on sitting BJP MLA Yogeshwar Mahato from Bermo.
“Booth app” has been launched in 10 of the 81 assembly constituencies in Jharkhand as a pilot project and in the third-phase Hazaribag, Ranchi and Ramgarh constituencies will have the booth-app facility to give real-time voting percentage and other information, the release said.
The 17 constituencies, including two reserved for SC candidates and one ST nominees, are spread over eight districts.
The seats where polling will be held are Kodarma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribag, Simaria (SC), Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri (ST), Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke (SC), an EC release said.
The BJP has nominated candidates in 16 of the 17 seats in this phase, a party leader said.
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) has fielded candidates in all the seats in the third-phase, JVM (P) spokesman Saroj Singh said.
The opposition alliance comprising the JMM, Congress and the RJD have fielded candidates in the constituencies as per their pre-poll seat adjustments.
The AJSU party, Lok Jan Shakti Party, Aam Admi Party, Samajwadi Party, CPI, CPI (ML-Liberation), All India Trinamool Congress, Hindustani Awami Morcha (Secular), Shiv Sena, Janata Dal (United), All India Forward Bloc and some other parties have put up candidates in selective constituencies.
The first-phase polling for 13 seats and the second-phase for 20 assembly segments had concluded on November 30 and December 7 respectively.
The fourth and the fifth phases polling for 15 and 16 seats will be held on December 16 and 20 respectively.
Counting to the 81-member House is slated on December 23.