First phase of Assembly polls in Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir begin amid tight security

EVM

Ranchi/Srinagar: The first of the five-phased Assembly elections in the mineral-rich state Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir begins on Tuesday.

In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, polling begins in 13 Maoist-affected constituencies amidst tight security. The polling will continue till three PM, according to Election Commission sources.

An electorate of 33,61,938, of whom 15,77,090 are female voters, are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose among 199 candidates, including 18 women.

Polling will take place amidst tight security in 13 Maoist-affected constituencies in the first phase of five-stage elections to the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly today.

According to reports, a total of 1,612 were declared as model polling stations while webcasting will be done from 263 polling stations. Besides, around 1,752 polling stations were declared as super sensitive and 1,104 as sensitive.

The BJP, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Bahujan Samaj Party are fighting the polls in 12 constituencies each, the Congress in seven and its alliance partner the Rashtriya Janata Dal in six constituencies.

The prominent candidates whose fate will be decided in this phase are state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat, Anant Pratap Deo, who switched to the BJP from the Congress, and former minister and Janata Dal-United candidate Sudha Chowdhary.

Maoists have reportedly called for boycott of the five-phased polls in Jharkhand that will end on December 20, and results would be announced on December 23.

The security forces have launched a massive anti-Maoist operation since November 11 to prevent any problem in the election process.

Jammu and Kashmir

In the crucial assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, as many as 12 sitting MLAs, including seven ministers, are among 123 candidates trying their luck today in 15 constituencies.

A million voters will get to decide the political fate of 123 candidates who are contesting in the first phase of the polls.

The Assembly segments going to polls include Kishtwar, Inderwal, Doda, Bhaderwah, Ramban and Banihal (in Jammu division); Gurez, Bandipora, Sonawari, Kangan and Ganderbal (in Kashmir), Nobra, Leh, Kargil and Zanskar (in Ladakh).

A total of 123 candidates including those from the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Panthers Party, BJP, Congress, Peoples Conference and independents are in the fray.

A total of 1,051,642 voters would exercise thier franchise in the first phase of the five-phased Assembly elections, which begins at 8 AM and ends at 4 PM.

Many star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi campaigned for their party candidates.

While the state police and central paramilitary force have been deployed directly to provide security to the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, army has also been deputed in strength to scuttle any untoward attempt to disturb the peaceful conduct of the elections.

(With Agency Inputs)

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