The fifth and final phase of polling in 16 assembly constituencies of Jharkhand passed off peacefully in Jharkhand, Election Commission officials said in Ranchi. An estimated 70.83 per cent of the total 40.05 lakh voters exercised their franchise till 5 pm when the polling ended, they said. However, voting for five left wing extremists affected seats had ended at 3 pm, after the exercise to all the constituencies commenced at 7 am.
The polling percentage is likely to increase as information from all the booths is yet to reach the poll panel, the officials said. BJP candidate and Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Randhir Singh is seeking re-election from Sarath constituency, while another saffron party nominee and Women and Child Development Minister Louis Marandi is pitted against JMM working president Hemant Soren in Dumka.
Marandi had defeated Soren in 2014 assembly elections. The JMM leader is also contesting the polls from Barhait seat. His sister-in-law Sita Soren is seeking re-election from Jama seat. Among others, former deputy chief minister and sitting JMM MLA Stephen Marandi is seeking re-election from Maheshpur and JD(U)’s Jharkhand unit chief and ex-MP salkhan Murmu is contesting the polls from Sikaripara.
The seats that went to polls are Borio (ST), Barhait (ST), Litipara (ST), Maheshpur (ST), Sikaripara (ST), Rajmahal, Pakur, Nalla, Jamtara, Dumka (ST), Jama (ST), Jarmundi, Sarath, Poreyahat, Godda and Mahagama.
Out of 81 assembly seats in the states, elections concluded in 65 constituencies in the previous four phases— between November 30 and December 16. Counting has been scheduled on December 23. Of the 5,389 polling stations in the state, 396 in Naxal-affected areas have been marked "critical" and 208 as "sensitive". The Election Commission has set up 8,987 ballot units, 6,738 control units and 7,006 VVPAT machines.