The electoral fortunes of 42 candidates including that of former Chief Minister and Union Minister Shibu Soren will be decided on Sunday in the final phase of the general elections in Jharkhand. Elections will be held in three seats – Dumka, Rajmahal and Godda on Sunday.
Soren, the chief of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and an 8th term sitting MP, is in the fray from Dumka seat once again. He is crossing swords with BJP’s Sunil Soren. The JMM leader had defeated his BJP challenger twice in 2009 and 2014.
Altogether 45,64,681 electors, including 22,00,119 female and 21 third gender voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, an Election Commission release said.
While 15 candidates are in the fray in Dumka, 14 are trying their luck from Rajmahal and 13 in Godda.
The JMM, the Congress and the JVM of former chief minister Babulal Marandi have formed ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance), putting up candidates against the BJP nominees in the 14 seats of the state.
JMM’s sitting MP, Vijay Kumar Hansda, is facing a tough challenge from BJP’s Hemlal Murmu from Rajmahal seat.
Hansda had defeated Murmu in 2014.
Murmu, who was a four-time MLA and had won the Rajmahal Lok Sabha seat in 2004 as JMM candidate, joined the BJP in 2014.
Sitting BJP MP Nishikant Dubey is also facing a fight from JVM MLA Pradip Yadav from Godda seat.
Chief Minister Raghubar Das and Ajsu party president Sudesh Mahto camped in the Santhal Pargana region for several days, campaigning for the BJP candidates.
This is the first time that Ajsu party has an alliance with the BJP in any Lok Sabha elections with the party getting the lone Giridih seat as per the seat sharing arrangement.
Chief Electorate Officer L Khiangte said that 6,258 control units, as many ballot units, and 6,258 VVPATs have been set up in the three constituencies, besides keeping 1,260 control units, as many ballot units and 1,884 VVPATs in reserve.
There are 6,258 polling stations with 27,536 polling personnel manning them.
A total of 589 polling stations will have webcasting facility while 137 polling stations will be manned by only women polling personnel.
Inspector General of Police (Operation) Ashish Batra said that 37,398 security personnel have been deployed across the three constituencies as part of security arrangements.
An Air ambulance will be available for emergency services, he said, adding locations of sensitive booths will be under helicopter surveillance.
Polling personnel of seven polling stations will be dropped by helicopter, he said.