Maoists Blow Up Bridge Amid Voting In 13 Jharkhand Seats: 10 Points

Jharkhand Assembly Elections: This is the fourth assembly election in Jharkhand since 2000 when the state was carved out of Bihar. A total of 37,83,055 voters, including 18,01,356 women and five third gender voters, are eligible to cast their vote in the first phase.

Jharkhand assembly elections: The voting begins at 7 am and will conclude at 3 pm.

A turnout of 62.8 per cent was recorded till 3 pm when voting ended in the first round of polling in Jharkhand today, news agency Press Trust of India reported. The percentage is likely to rise as some people who are in the queue cast their vote. Hours after voting began in 13 constituencies of Jharkhand, a bridge in Bishnupur in Gumla district was blown up by Maoists this morning. No injuries have been reported. Senior police officer Shashi Ranjan said voting was not affected. In the state elections, the ruling BJP, which is contesting for the first time without an ally, faces a tough challenge from the united opposition parties. The polling began at 7 am.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. A total of 189 candidates are contesting in the first of five phases. Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, who is contesting from Bishrampur, and state Congress chief Rameshwar Oraon, who is contesting from Lohardaga seat, are among the key candidates.

  2. The BJP, which is seeking a second term under the leadership of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, is contesting in 12 seats in the first phase. The party is supporting Independent candidate Vinod Singh from Hussainabad. In 2014, the BJP, which won 35 seats, had formed the government with All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU) which had won five seats. The AJSU is contesting polls alone this time. 

  3. The BJP faces a tough challenge from the opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). While the Congress is contesting in six seats in the first phase, the JMM is contesting in four seats and the RJD is contesting in in three constituencies. 

  4. The opposition has attacked the ruling BJP for fielding controversial candidates in Bhavnathpur and Panki that are voting in the first phase. In Bhavnathpur, the party has fielded Bhanu Pratap Sahi who is an accused in Rs 130 crore medicine fraud. Shashi Bhushan Mehta, the BJP candidate from Panki, is an accused in a rape and murder case.

  5. Jharkhand Congress chief Rameshwar Oraon is contesting against former state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat who joined the ruling BJP recently.

  6. This is the fourth assembly election in Jharkhand since 2000 when the state was carved out of Bihar. Around 38 lakh voters, including 18 lakh women and five third gender voters, are eligible to cast their vote in the first phase.

  7. The constituencies that are voting today are Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur. The district administration in Jharkhand has tightened the security in two assembly constituencies - Latehar and Manika - that were targeted by the Maoists recently. 

  8. A total of 4,892 polling stations have been set up for the first phase, out of which 1,262 would have webcasting facilities. 1,790 voting booths have been placed in super sensitive category and 1,202 voting booths have been marked as sensitive. 

  9. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had earlier said that the five-phase polls in Jharkhand have been scheduled based on the Home Ministry's report and officials' feedback. As many as 67 assembly constituencies in the state are affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), he had said.

  10. Jharkhand, which has an 81-member assembly, will vote in five phases till December 20. Counting of votes will take place on December 23.



Highlights

  • No injuries have been reported, voting was not affected
  • A total of 189 candidates are contesting in the first of five phases
  • A voting turnout of 27.4 per cent was recorded til 11 am
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