- The second phase of polling began Saturday morning in 20 constituencies in Jharkhand, which votes in five phases to elect 81 members of the legislative assembly. The main contest is between the ruling BJP and the alliance of the Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Janta Dal. Here is a look at the highlights of the second round of voting in the state:
- The voting commenced at 7am, amid a tight security arrangement. While the voting exercise in 18 seats will end at 3 pm, voters in Jamshedpur (East) and Jamshedpur (West) constituencies can vote till 5 pm.
- One person was killed and two others injured after security personnel opened fire on a group of men who tried to snatch their arms in Gumla’s Sisai constituency, while polling was underway
Polling amid tight security
- Out of a total of 6,066 polling stations, 949 have been declared ‘critical’ and 762 ‘sensitive’ in Naxal-affected areas.
- More than 42,000 security personnel, including central forces, have been deployed on the 20 seats spread across seven districts.
- The BJP is contesting in all the twenty constituencies in the second phase. They are pitted against the opposition alliance of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Congress and Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD). The RJD has no candidate in this round.
- Out of the 20 seats in this phase, 16 are reserved for the scheduled tribes. The high presence of tribal voters had put Jharkhand’s old issue of “Jal Jangal aur Zamin” (water, forest and land) in focus during the campaign.
- In the last assembly polls in 2014, the JMM had won all 8 seats in the Kolhan (despite a Modi wave). The BJP had won seven of the 20 seats, Congress and AJSU two each and an Independent won a lone seat.
- The most interesting battle is in Jamshedpur (East) from where incumbent CM Raghubar Das in the fray against BJP’s rebel and former minister Saryu Rai and Congress spokesperson Gaurabh Vallabh. The seat also has 18 other candidates in the fray, the highest for any other constituency.
- The first phase of the five-phase polling for thirteen constituencies had concluded on November 30.
- The rest of the three phases will be held on December 12, 16 and 20.
- A total 48,25,038 voters, including 23,93,437 female and 90 third gender voters, are eligible to vote to decide the fate of 260 candidates, including 29 women nominees and 73 independents.
- Counting will take place on December 23.