Campaigning ends in Jharkhand, 4 seats to go for 1st phase polling

Ranchi, April 8: Campaigning ended today in Jharkhand which will go for first phase polling on April 10 amidst tight security in Maoist-affected Palamau(SC), Chatra, Koderma and Lohardaga(ST) Lok Sabha constituencies.

A total of 56,47,736 electorate with 29,98,487 male and 26,49,246 females are eligible to exercise their franchise in four of the 14 LS seats.

Polling for the rest 10 Lok Sabha seats would be held on April 17 and 24.

In Palamau LS seat, there are 13 candidates in the fray. A three-cornered contest is on the cards between BJP candidate and former Jharkhand police chief Vishnu Dayal Ram, Manoj Kumar of RJD and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha’s Ghuran Ram here.

Sitting MP and former Maoist Kameshwar Baitha is also contesting on Trinamool Congress ticket from Palamau, where Congress won six times (1952, 57, 62, 67, 71 and 84), BJP four times (1991, 96, 98, 99) and RJD twice (2004, 2007).

This time Congress and JMM pitched for RJD as per the pre-poll alliance in Jharkhand.

Former union minister and Congress candidate Rameshwar Oraon, sitting BJP MP Sudarshan Bhagat and sitting MLA Chamra Linda of Trinamool are among the nine contestants for Lohardaga (ST) seat.

The Koderma LS seat also witnessed a three-cornered contest with BJP’s state unit chief Ravindra Kumar Ray, former Congress MP Tilakdhari Singh and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha candidate Pranav Kumar Verma among the 20 candidates in fray.

Former MP Suraj Mandal is fielded from Jharkhand Vikas Dal among the 20 candidates. Altogether 20 candidates are in the fray for Chatra seat with Rajya Sabha MP Dheeraj Prasad Sahu of Congress locked in a battle with BJP’s Sunil Singh, Neelam Devi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha and AJSU’s Nagmani.

At least seven choppers would be pressed into service during the first phase of the elections, Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner of Palamau Kripanand Jha said.

The star campaigners were Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, besides Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad.