An estimated 62.54% of over 47 lakh electorate cast their votes in the fourth phase of Jharkhand Assembly elections to 15 seats on Monday, Election Commission (EC) officials said.
Polling, which began at 7 am, was peaceful in the constituencies spread over Giridih, Deoghar, Dhanbad and Bokaro districts, state Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey said.
Voting ended at 3 pm in Jamua, Bagodar, Giridih, Dumri and Tundi seats while the exercise concluded at 5 pm in the remaining seats, Choubey said. He said 48 ballot units, 50 control units and 121 VVPAT machines had to be replaced but polling was not hampered because of it. There were a total of 9,902 ballot units, 7,628 control units and 7,931 VVPAT machines, Choubey said.
The seats which went to polls in this round were Deoghar (SC), Jamua (SC), Chandankiyari (SC), Madhupur, Bagodar, Gandey, Giridih, Dumri, Bokaro, Sindri, Nirsa, Dhanbad, Jharia, Tundi and Baghmara.
Prominent among the candidates in this phase were state Labour Minister Raj Paliwar from Madhipur seat and Land and Revenue Minister Amar Kumar Bauri from Chandankiyari constituency.
Choubey said out of total 6,101 polling stations, 1,133 were marked “critical” and 3,070 “sensitive”. A total of 47,85,009 voters, including 22,44,134 female and 81 third gender voters, were eligible to decide the fate of 221 nominees, including 23 women candidates.
Of the total electorate, there were 34,106 octagenarian and 66,321 differently-abled voters, the CEO said. Choubey said a record 92.43% of the 66,321 differently-abled voters cast their votes. Webcasting was done in 2,122 polling stations while 70 booths were manned only by women polling personnel, he said, adding more than one EVMs were used in four seats where there were more than 16 candidates in the fray.
The ruling BJP had contested all the 15 seats that went to polls in this phase.
Its ally AJSU Party contested on its own for the first time since the creation of Jharkhand in 2000. The opposition alliance of the JMM, the Congress and the RJD fielded candidates in constituencies as per their pre-poll seat adjustment. Of the total 81 Assembly seats, elections to 50 seats concluded in the first three phases held between November 30 and December 12.
The fifth and final phase of polling to 16 seats will be held on December 20 and votes will be counted on December 23.
(With PTI inputs)