Slow voting in Jharkhand polls

Slow voting in Jharkhand polls


Paramilitary soilders carry Electronic Voting Machines as they depart for polling stations on the eve of the first phase of assembly elections in Ranchi on Tuesday. PTI

With temperatures dipping to six degrees Celsius in some parts, voting in the first phase of Jharkhand's assembly election got off to a slow start.

In the first three hours of polling that began at 7 am, 13 to 14 percent of the electorate had voted, officials said.

The highest turnout was in the Jamatara constituency that saw a turnout of 16 percent by 10 am.

Elections are being held amid heavy security in 26 of 81 assembly seats in the first phase of the assembly polls, spread over five days. About 40,000 security personnel have been deployed and four helicopters have been pressed into service to ensure peaceful polling.

Officials said voting started late in at least seven places due to technical problems in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

In the first phase, 470 candidates, including 194  independents, are in the fray. Of these, 108 have criminal records and 27 are millionaires. Polling is being held in 8,176 polling stations with 13,850 EVMs.

Most of the seats are witnessing a triangular fight between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress-Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-  Prajatantrik (JVM-P) alliance.

Presidents of the state units of the BJP, JD-U and Congress are contesting in this phase.
The five-phase election gets over on Dec 18. Counting will be held on Dec 23.

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