Jharkhand Assembly polls Photograph:( ANI )
37 lakh people are eligible to vote in these elections, to decide the fate of 189 candidates
The first phase of polling for Assembly elections began today in Jharkhand. The phase encompasses 13 constituencies spread across six districts, with voting slated to last until 3 pm.
37 lakh people are eligible to vote in these elections, to decide the fate of 189 candidates, including 15 female candidates in the first phase of Assembly elections, said Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vinay Kumar Choubey on Friday.
The constituencies where polling is taking place are Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur.
Security measures have been taken to avoid any issues. "Adequate security has been ensured in all polling booths across the constituencies which will go to polls in the first phase. Special arrangements have been made for the specially-abled voters," Choubey said.
The district administration in Jharkhand has tightened the security in two assembly constituencies, Latehar and Manika, where a Naxal attack took place a few days ago.
The authorities expressed confidence in arrangements that have been made to conduct the elections peacefully.
As many as 67 assembly constituencies are "very extremely" to "extremely" affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said.
"We have completed our security preparations, whether it is security or dispatch. Security forces at required places have also been deployed. We are ready to conduct the poll peacefully. Hypersensitive booths have been further divided into clusters, superclusters and zones," Deputy Commissioner of Latehar, Zeeshan Qamar told ANI on Thursday.
Jharkhand, an 81-member assembly, will have polls in five phases up to December 20.
Incumbent Chief Minister Raghubar Das, who became the first CM of the state to complete a full term in office, is seeking another five-year term.
The tenure of the current Assembly ends on January 5, 2020.
Apart from the BJP, Congress, JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) are major players in the state Assembly elections. The Congress, JMM and RJD are contesting the polls together.
This is the fourth Assembly election in Jharkhand since the state was carved out in 2000.
The votes will be counted on December 23.
(With inputs from ANI)