Ranchi | Jagran News Desk: An estimated turnout of 62.87 per cent was recorded till 3.00 pm in the first phase of the Assembly polls in Jharkhand on Saturday, amid minor incidents of violence, officials -- quoted by PTI -- said.

The officials added that the percentage is likely to increase as voters who entered the polling stations by 3.00 pm will be allowed to exercise their franchise.

Meanwhile, minor incidents of violence was recorded in parts of the state. Additional Director General of Police Murari Lal Meena, quoted by news agency PTI, said that maoists blow up a bridge in Bishunpur in Gumla district. However, he added that no one was injured in the blast and it did not affect the polling in the region.

“The explosion occurred near the culvert in the forests between Banalat and Biranpur villages under Bishunpur assembly constituency of the district,” he said.

Another incident, meanwhile, was reported in Kosiyara village of Chainpur. According to reports, a clash broke out between Congress and BJP leaders in Kosiyara where Congress candidate KN Tripathi accused the BJP candidate Alok Chaurasia and his supporters of looting the booths.

Palamau Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer Shantanu Agrahari said that the agitators broke the window panes of a police vehicle after Tripathi allegedly tried to enter the polling booth with arms but the situation was quickly brought under control.

“Police has seized a pistol and three cartridges, which were allegedly in Tripathi's possession,” he said.

The Election Commission (EC) has also taken cognizance of the incident and sought a report from the district administration.

The Election Commission (EC) has also taken cognizance of the incident and sought a report from the district administration.

The first phase of the polling in Jharkhand was held in 13 constituencies across six districts. The constituencies where polling was held were -- Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur.

According to EC officials, the fate of 189 candidates, including 15 women Nominees, will be decided by the voters in the first phase of voting.

A total of 4,892 polling stations were set up, out of which 1,262 were webcasting facilities, said Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey earlier.

Key candidates, who were in the fray, were BJP nominee and state Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi from Bishrampur and state Congress president Rameshwar Oraon from the Lohardaga seat and former BJP chief whip Radhakrishna Kishore.

The BJP, under the leadership of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, is seeking for a second term at the office. In the first phase, the party contested on 12 seats while supported independent candidate Vinod Singh on one.

While the Congress, which is allied with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), contested on six seats. The JMM and RJD contested on four and three seats respectively in the first phase.

The rest of the four phases for the 81-member assembly will be held on December 7, 12, 16 and 20 while the results will be announced on December 23.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma