Srinagar/Ranchi, Dec 2: Voting began for the 2nd phase of Assembly election this morning in 18 constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir and 20 Maoist-affected constituencies of Jharkhand amid tight security.
According to reports, the polls will seal the fate of 175 candidates, including deputy speaker, four ministers and 11 other sitting MLAs, amidst tight security in Kulgam and Kupwara districts following attacks on sarpanches by militants.
Director General of Police (DGP) of J-K Police K. Rajendra Kumar reportedly said that the police will ensure that the Assembly Elections will be carried out in a peaceful manner.
Thousands of security personnel were deployed in nine constituencies in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley and an equal number in the Jammu region, where BJP’s stakes are high.
After the first phase of polling on November 25 logged a record turnout of over 70%, the highest since Independence for a state that has suffered over three decades of militancy and strife, all eyes are trained on this phase also.
A top police officer reportedly said that apart from the deployment of 220 companies of paramilitary personnel, more were kept on standby.
Polling in 20 Maoist-affected constituencies began on Tuesday at 7 am amid tight security in the 2nd phase of Assembly election to the Jharkhand Assembly, with polling personnel airdropped in the remote parts of the state.
An electorate of 44,31,900, including 21,72,982 women, is eligible to vote in 5,048 polling stations across seven districts to elect 223 candidates, said Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer P K Jajoria.
The high turnout of voters in Jharkhand, especially in Naxal-prone areas has boosted the morale of all associated officials in the state.
In the first phase of assembly elections earlier this week, Jharkhand has recorded an impressive 62 percent voter turnout.
According to reports, Jharkhand has also sealed its borders with West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh to prevent cross-border movement of Maoists a day ahead of the second phase of polling.
At least 45,000 security personnel have reportedly been deployed in the 20 assembly constituencies in the Kolhan and South Chhotangapur divisions spread over seven districts, East and West Singbhum, SereikelaKharsawan, Ranchi, Gumla, Simdega and Khunti.
Since Maoists have given a call for poll boycott, four choppers will conduct air surveillance in the sensitive areas. The choppers also ferried over 150 polling personnel in 17 far-flung Maoist-infested areas on the eve of elections on Monday.
As many as 260 companies of central paramilitary forces (CPMF) apart from the district police and Jharkhand Armed Police (JAP) have been deployed in the districts to sanitize the sensitive areas and guard the polling booths, the report said.
The counting of votes will take place on December 23.
(With Agency Inputs)