64.12% Votes Cast In First Phase Of Polling In Jharkhand
A security jawan stands guard as people wait in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station during the first phase of Jharkhand Assembly elections. (Source: PTI)

64.12% Votes Cast In First Phase Of Polling In Jharkhand

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An estimated 64.12 percent votes were cast in 13 constituencies of Jharkhand Assembly where polling was held in the first phase on Saturday, Election Commission officials said.

The 13 constituencies are in six Maoist-hit districts and polling was held amidst tight security.

The voting was by and large peaceful and ended at 3 p.m., the EC officials said.

A total of 37,83,055 electorate, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters exercised their franchise during the day to elect their representatives from among 189 candidates, including 15 women nominees.

Polling on Saturday was held in Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur constituencies.

The Bhawanathpur constituency has the maximum of 28 contestants, while Chatra has the lowest with nine.

Jharkhand Additional Director General of Police, Murari Lal Meena said left-wing extremists exploded a bomb near a culvert in Bishnupur assembly constituency in the forests of Gumla district but there was no casualty or damage.

Meena said a total of 1,097 polling stations were marked as hypersensitive and 461 polling stations as sensitive.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is seeking a second straight win under the leadership of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, contested from 12 seats in the first phase and supported an Independent candidate. The All Jharkhand Students Union party, which is an National Democratic Alliance ally contested on its own.

The opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal were also in the fray in the seats.

Congress contested in six seats, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in four and the RJD in three constituencies in the first phase.

The other parties which contested in the first phase were Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Janata Dal (United) and the Left parties.

Key candidates in the fray were BJP nominee and state Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi and Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee president Rameshwar Oraon, who is taking on his predecessor Sukhdeo Bhagat, who has joined the BJP.

The next four phases of polling for the 81-member assembly will be held on December 7, 12, 16 and 20. Counting is scheduled on Dec. 23.

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