New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Voting for the first phase in the five-phase Assembly elections in Jharkhand will start today (November 30, Saturday) at 7 am in the morning and will conclude at 3 pm, the Election Commission said. In the first phase, 13 constituencies across six districts will be going to polls today in which a state minister and state PCC president are key contestants.  

37,83,055 voters, including 18,01,356 women and five third gender voters, eligible to vote in Chatra (SC), Gumla (ST), Bishunpur (ST), Lohardaga (ST), Manika (SC), Latehar (SC), Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur (SC), Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur constituencies will decide the fate of 189 candidates in the first phase.  

The voting in the 13 constituencies will take place across 3,906 polling stations out of which 989 will have webcasting facilities, an Election Commission release said. Polling personnel, deputed in remote areas, were being airlifted, EC officials said.

Monitoring exercise is being carried out by flying squads to prevent violation of the Model Code of Conduct, such as the distribution of cash, liquor, and other inducements, the officials added as reported by PTI. By dialing 1950, voters will be able to register complaints on poll-related issues, they said.

In the first phase of Jharkhand Assembly elections, the ruling BJP is contesting on 12 seats and is supporting an independent candidate Vinod Singh from Hussainabad. On the other hand, the opposition alliance of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) are contesting on four, six, and three constituencies respectively.

Some other prominent candidates contesting in the first phase of the elections are Jharkhand PCC president and ex-IPS officer Rameshwar Oraon and BJP nominee Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi. Rameshwar Oraon is fighting against ex-PCC chief Sukhdeo Bhagat, who joined the BJP recently ahead of the elections. While, former BJP chief whip Radhakrishna Kishore, who was denied ticket from Chhatarpur, is contesting on AJSU party ticket from the same seat.

The BJP has suffered a setback in Maharashtra where the saffron party despite emerging as the single largest party with 105 seats, couldn’t form the government as its 30-year-old ally, the Shiv Sena parted ways over the demand to share the chief ministerial post for half of the tenure, which BJP denied. Later, the Shiv Sena on November 27 staked claim to form the government after allying with the NCP and its ideologically opposite Congress. 

In Jharkhand too, BJP is contesting the polls alone after failing to finalise the seat-sharing agreement with its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) for the Jharkhand assembly polls. The AJSU had asked the BJP for 19 seats to contest the elections in Jharkhand, but the saffron party was not willing to give them more than nine seats, creating the fissure between the allies.

Meanwhile, the seat-sharing talks between the BJP and LJP also went in vain, after the latter demanded six seats from the BJP, but the ruling party was only interested in giving them one seat. The Chirag Paswan-led LJP later announced that they will contest on 50 seats alone.

The Election Commission of India on November 1 had announced the election schedule for the Jharkhand Assembly elections. According to the schedule released by the EC, elections in Jharkhand will be held in five phases, starting from November 30 till 20 December. The results for the five phases of elections will be declared on December 23.

In the 2014 assembly election in Jharkhand, the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 37 seats out of the 81-seat legislative assembly, while the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bagged 19 seats. The Congress and former chief minister Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) won six and eight seats respectively.

Posted By: Talib Khan