Naxals blow bridge in Gumla as polling continues in Jharkhand
As the first phase of polling commenced in Jharkhand on Saturday, Naxals blew up a bridge in the Gumla district's Bishnupur. However, no injuries were reported and Gumla Deputy Commissioner Shashi Ranjan confirmed that voting was not affected by the incident. 13 constituencies across six districts went to Assembly poll in Jharkhand on Saturday. Here are more updates on the polls.
Jharkhand polls to be held in five phases
The first out of five phases will decide the fate of 189 candidates, including 15 women nominees. In the first phase on Saturday, Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur went to poll. The remaining four phases of polling will be conducted on December 7, 12, 16 and 20, with vote counting on December 23.
4,892 polling stations set up for 37 lakh voters
In the first phase of polling, which will continue till 3 pm on Saturday, a total of 37,83,055 people are eligible to vote, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters. 4,892 polling stations were established, including 1,262 with webcasting facilities, said Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey. 1,097 polling stations in Naxal-affected areas were marked 'hypersensitive' while 461 polling stations were marked 'sensitive'.
Security had been tightened after Naxal attack days ago
Notably, security had been tightened in the Latehar and Manika assembly constituencies, which had witnessed a Naxal attack a few days ago. Choubey had earlier assured, "Adequate security has been ensured in all polling booths across the constituencies which will go to polls in the first phase." "Special arrangements have been made for the specially-abled voters," he added.
Raghubar Das eyes second term as Chief Minister
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and incumbent Chief Minister Raghubar Das is eyeing a second five-year term after becoming the first Jharkhand CM to complete a full term in office. However, the BJP is up against an opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal. The tenure of the current Assembly ends on January 5, 2020.
Das urged people to vote for Jharkhand's 'development and prosperity'
BJP contesting in 12 constituencies in first phase
In the first phase, the BJP is contesting in 12 constituencies and is supporting Independent candidate Vinod Singh from Hussainabad. Meanwhile, the Congress is contesting in six seats, the JMM in four, and the RJD in three constituencies.