The counting of votes for 81 Jharkhand Assembly seats is underway and initial trends show that the Bhartiya Janata Party is leading the JMM, Congress and RJD combine. Meanwhile, sources said that the BJP has reached out to AJSU’s Sudesh Mahto and JVM’s Babulal Marandi. Reports are also coming that senior BJP leader and in charge for Vidhan Sabha polls in Jharkhand, Om Prakash Mathur, - who is in the state capital – is trying to negotiate with these political parties.
Earlier, exit polls predicted that the pre-poll alliance of Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal is likely to emerge as the single largest coalition and may go on to form majority in the assembly.
The approximate voter turnout for all the 81 assembly constituencies across the five phases is 65.17 per cent, compared to the 66.53 per cent recorded in the 2014 elections. Out of 81 assembly seats in the states, elections concluded in 65 constituencies in the previous four phases between November 30 and December 16 while the last phase was held on December 23. An EC note said, altogether 1,088 male candidates, 127 women nominees and one third-gender candidate were in the fray for the 81 seats.
KN Jha, additional chief electoral officer (CEO), said the trend of results was expected from 9 am, while the results by 1 pm or 2 pm. However, official announcements of results would take some time due to tallying of VVPAT slips with EVMs. Jha said the commission has made elaborate preparations for the counting of votes. A multi-layer security plan has been chalked out for free and fair counting, he said.
"Counting centres have been set up in each district headquarter. Adequate security arrangements have been ensured at each counting centre," he said.
Mobile phones inside the counting hall have been banned completely. “Neither officials nor agents of political parties would be allowed to carry mobile phones inside the counting centre,” he said, adding food packets would be allowed only once, while drinking water would be arranged by respective district administrations.
All eyes are pinned on the outcome of Jamshedpur East assembly seat with outgoing chief minister Raghubar Das and his former ministerial colleague Saryu Roy locked in a bitter electoral battle from the seat here in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. Former CM Hemant Soren, All Jharkhand Students Union president Sudesh Mahto and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha's Babulal Marandi are the other prominent candidates to watch out for.