The third phase of the Assembly elections in Jharkhand on Thursday saw a turnout of 62.03%. Seventeen constituencies – Koderma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribag, Simaria, Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri, Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke – went to the polls amid tight security arrangements.
Of these, the Simaria and Kanke seats are reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates while Khijri is reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The BJP had won nine of these 17 seats in 2014. The Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bagged two seats each.
Voting concluded at 3 pm in all constituencies except Ranchi, Hatia, Kanke, Barkatha and Ramgarh, which got two extra hours. Long queues were seen outside election booths in Bokaro and Hazaribagh constituencies, ANI reported. Former Union minister and BJP MP Jayant Sinha was seen lining up to cast his vote.
“A total of 56,18,267 voters are eligible to cast votes in the 17 constituencies across eight districts,” Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey told PTI. A total of 309 candidates, including former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, Urban Development Minister CP Singh and Education Minister Neera Yadav, are in the fray.
Choubey said around 40,000 polling personnel were deployed. Twelve of the 17 constituencies fall under Maoist-affected areas. “In view of this, we have heli dropped polling personnel in 96 polling stations,” Choubey told Hindustan Times. “Besides, 10 polling booths have been relocated due to security reasons.”
The Election Commission said out of 7,016 polling booths, 1,008 were identified as “critical”, and 543 were “sensitive” in the Maoist-affected areas, The Indian Express reported.
The five-phase elections to the 81-member Assembly began on November 30 and will end on December 20. Results will be declared on December 23. The fourth and the fifth phases of polling for 15 and 16 seats, respectively, will be held on December 16 and December 20.