The second phase of the ongoing assembly elections in Jharkhand was marred with violence and one person was killed as a security personnel opened fire on assailants who allegedly tried to snatch their arms outside a polling booth in Sisai constituency.
The overall electoral turnout recorded during the day was estimated to be 64.39%, showed Election Commission (EC) data. Sisai, where the violence broke out, recorded 68.6% turnout.
Twenty constituencies spread over seven districts went to polls during the second phase on Saturday (December 7). Polling in 18 seats ended at 3 pm, while voters in Jamshedpur (East), where Chief Minister Raghubar Das is in fray, and Jamshedpur (West) constituencies exercised their franchise till 5 pm, an EC release said.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Murari Lal Meena said the man was killed when personnel of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) fired on the assailants near booth number 36 in Sisai constituency.
The injured persons have been admitted to hospital, said Meena, who is also the nodal officer for assembly election-related security measures. Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey said the incident is being probed and polling in the booth has been stopped. A police officer also suffered injuries when angry villagers resorted to stone pelting after the incident, police sources said.
In West Singhbhum district, Naxalites torched an empty bus near Jojo Hatu village in Chaibasa constituency, Superintendent of Police Inderjeet Mahata said.
Among the early voters were Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon (Sisai), Rural Development Minister Neelkanth SinghMunda (Khunti) and BJP’s state unit president Laxman Gilua (Chakradharpur).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier in the day tweeted, urging voters to come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise. A total 48,25,038 voters, including 23,93,437 women and 90 third gender voters, are eligible to vote to decide the fate of 260 candidates, including 29 women nominees and 73 independents.
According to police sources, more than 42,000 security personnel, including central forces, have been deployed in the 20 seats. “Several of the constituencies going for this phase of polling are Naxal-affected. So, armed police have been deployed as a part of security measures,” Choubey said.
Out of a total of 6,066 polling stations, 949 have been declared critical and 762 sensitive in Naxal-affected areas, he said. The CEO said 101 polling stations have been relocated due to security reasons, and free transport facility has been arranged for voters to reach these stations. Webcasting facilities has been made available at 1,662polling stations, he said.
The assembly segments went to polls in the second phase are: Baharagora, Ghatsila, Potka, Jugsalai, Jamshedpur(East), Jamshedpur (West), Seraikela, Chaibasa, Majhgaon,Jaganathpur, Manoharpur, Chakradharpur, Kharsawan, Tamar,Torpa, Khunti, Mandar, Sisai, Simdega and Kolebira. Sixteen of the 20 constituencies are reserved forScheduled Tribe (ST) candidates and one for Scheduled Caste (SC).
BJP leader and Chief Minister Raghubar Das is facing challenge from his former cabinet colleague and independent candidate Saryu Rai from the Jamshedpur (East) seat. The saffron party’s state unit president Laxman Gilua, who lost the Lok Sabha elections from Singhbhum seat, is contesting from Chakradharpur.
The BJP is contesting in all the 20 constituencies in the second phase, while the opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress is contesting in14 and six seats, respectively.
The RJD, which got a total of seven seats as per the seat-sharing formula of the opposition combine, has no candidate in this round. NDA ally AJSU party, which is contesting the assembly elections on its own for the first time since the creation of the state, has fielded candidates from 12 constituencies in this phase.
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) has nominated leaders in all the 20 seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party in 14 segments. The CPI is contesting in two seats, the CPI(M) in one and the NCP in two. Six candidates of the All India Trinamool Congress are also in the fray in the second round.
The first of the five-phase polling for 13 constituencies had concluded on November 30.The rest of the three phases will be held on December 12, 16 and 20. Counting will take place on December 23.
(With inputs from agencies)