Ranchi: The first phase of Jharkhand polling has come to a close with an overall turnout recorded to be 62.87 per cent.
Notably, the polling took place in thirteen Vidhan Sabha constituencies spread over six Maoist-hit districts in the state. The seats that went to polls are Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur.
The Congress and BJP workers are known to have clashed at the Koshiyara polling station in Daltonganj Assembly constituency. According to an IANS report, Congress candidate K. N. Tripathi’s convoy was allegedly pelted stones by supporters of BJP candidate Alok Chaurasia following which Tripathi took out his pistol.
The BJP, on the other hand, alleged that the Congress candidates were waving weapons in public to scare away the voters.
Taking cognizance of the incident, the State Election Commission has sought a detailed report from the Palamu district administration in this regard.
In another incident of violence, Naxalites exploded a bomb near a culvert in the forests of Gumla district. However, no casualty or damage was reported.
“The explosion occurred near the culvert in the forests between Banalat and Biranpur villages under Bishunpur assembly constituency of the district,” Additional Director General of Police Murari Lal Meena said.
A total of 37,83,055 electorate, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase of polling across six districts, which began at 7 AM, Election Commission (EC) officials said.
Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey said a total of 4,892 polling stations have been set up, out of which 1,262 would have webcasting facilities.
The BJP, which is seeking a second straight win under the leadership of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, is contesting in 12 seats in the first phase while it is supporting Independent candidate Vinod Singh from Hussainabad.
To take on the BJP, the opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal are in the fray.
While the Congress is contesting in six seats in the first phase, the JMM is fighting in four and the RJD in three constituencies in the first phase.
The other parties contesting the elections are Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Janata Dal (United) and the Left parties.
The rest of the four phases for the 81-member assembly will be held on December 7, 12, 16 and 20.
The counting is scheduled to take place on December 23.
(With agency inputs)