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Jharkhand polls peaceful, 32.10 pc voting in first four hours


Ranchi, Dec 2 (PTI) Brisk polling was reported in several of the 20 constituencies of seven Maoist-hit districts in Jharkhand where second-phase voting is on for the 81-seat Assembly today.

Polling was going on peacefully and 32.10 per cent of the total 44,31,900 voters exercised their franchise in the first four hours, Election Commission sources said.

Long queues were seen in the Maoist-hit areas, where election is being held amid tight security.

Till 11 AM, Baharagora constituency registered the maximum voter turnout of 44.38 per cent followed by Jagannathpur 43 per cent, Majhgaon 40 per cent and Tamar 29 per cent, the sources said.

Barring a defective EVM machine being replaced in Jaganathpur, polling is incident-free, the sources said.

Former Chief Minister Madhu Koda and his MLA wife Gita Koda cast their votes in Jaganathpur constituency.

While Koda is contesting from Majhgaon (ST) seat, his wife is fighting from Jaganathpur (ST) constituency.

Another former Chief Minister Arjun Munda and his wife Meera Munda also exercised his franchise from Kharsawan, from where he is contesting for the fifth time.

BJP Vice President and former deputy chief minister Raghuvar Das cast his franchise in Jamshedpur (East), while his BJP colleague and candidate from Jamshedpur (WEST) Saryu Roy also cast his vote.

Tata Steel Managing Director T V Narendra and his wife Ruchi Narendran also voted in Jamshedpur.

Besides women, a large number of youths were seen waiting in serpentine queues in the steel city.

Khunti SDO-cum-returning officer Ramesh Gholak said voting was going on peacefully.

A total of 44,31,900 voters, including 21,72,982 women, are eligible to cast their franchise in 5,048 polling stations to elect 223 candidates, including 35 women.

Besides former Chief Ministers Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda, former deputy chief minister Raghubar Das (Jamshedpur East), three state ministers including Agriculture minister Banna Gupta (Jamshedpur-West), HRD minister Geetashree Oraon (Sisai), Industries minister Champai Soren (Seraikella), several sitting and former MLAs are trying their luck.

First phase polling was held in 13 Maoist-affected seats of the state on November 25 last which witnessed a turnout of 62 per cent.

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