Voting has ended for the third phase of polling for 17 assembly constituencies in Jharkhand. Until 5 pm, 62.35 % polling was recorded.
The voting began at 7 am in all the 17 constituencies, amidst a tight security arrangement.
An estimated 45.14 per cent of over 56 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise till 1 pm on Thursday in the third of the five-phase Jharkhand assembly elections in 17 constituencies, officials said.
While polling at Ranchi, Hatia, Kanke, Barkatha and Ramgarh seats ended at 5 pm, voters in rest of the constituencies could exercise their franchise only till 3 pm.
“A total of 56,18,267 voters are eligible to cast votes in the 17 constituencies across eight districts. The voters include a total of 26,80,205 women and 86 third gender voters,” Vinay Kumar Choubey, the Chief Electoral Officer of Jharkhand, said earlier this morning.
The fate of 309 candidates, including 32 women nominees, will be decided in the third leg of the elections.
The assembly elections to the 81-member House began on November 30 and will end on December 20.
CEO Choubey said that about 40,000 polling personnel were deputed to conduct smooth and peaceful voting.
Out of the total 7,016 polling stations set up for the third-phase, 1,008 were marked as critical’ and 543 sensitive’ in Naxal-affected areas. A total of 1,119 polling stations were labelled ‘critical’ and 2,672 polling stations were labelled ‘sensitive’ in non-Naxal affected areas.
A total of 2,014 polling stations had webcasting facilities, 329 model polling stations and 44 polling stations were conducted by women polling personnel.
The 17 constituencies, including two reserved for SC candidates and one ST candidate, were spread over eight districts.
The seats where polling was held are Kodarma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribag, Simaria (SC), Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri (ST), Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke (SC), the Election Commission said in a release.
Notable candidates in the fray were former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, Urban Development Minister C P Singh and Education Minister Neera Yadav.
While Marandi, the president of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), is contesting from the Dhanwar seat, Singh and Yadav are fighting from Ranchi and Kodarma constituencies respectively.
Former deputy chief minister and AJSU party president Sudesh Mahto is trying his luck to regain Silli seat after he lost the 2014 assembly polls and the subsequent bypoll to JMM candidates Amit Mahato and his wife Seema Mahato. The JMM has re-nominated Seema Mahato.
The BJP has not fielded any candidate from Silli though the NDA allies are fighting the polls separately, for the first time since the state’s creation.
The first-phase polling for thirteen seats and the second-phase for twenty seats 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. Votes will be counted on December 23.