With no reported casualties at the time of going to press, the first of five-phased elections to the Jharkhand assembly took place across 13 constituencies that include some of the worst left wing extremism-affected regions of the state.
At 3 PM, when the polls closed, 62 percent of voters had turned up. This is about four percentage points above the 2009 figure of 58.04 for the corresponding constituencies. In the 2005 elections, these 13 constituencies – spread over six of the state’s 24 districts – recorded voter turnout of 53.81 percent.
A polling party returning to the cluster in Chattarpur constituency had a close shave when a suspected CPI-Maoist squad opened fire on them. The BSF jawans accompanying polling officials returned fire and the attackers retreated into the forest. The polling team returned to its cluster safely and there were no injuries.
In Palamu, 57 EVMs from 19 booths of Panki constituency were taken to a CISF camp after security forces suspected landmines had been planted by Maoists along the way. Palamu SP Mayur Patel said they would be taken to the district headquarters on Wednesday.
Security forces recovered and defused four IEDs from within the Hariharganj police station of Palamu district. In Palamu’s Bishrampur constituency, unknown assailants fired at the vehicle of Gobind Singh, candidate of the Naujawan Sangarsh Morcha.
At Mahuadanr of Latehar, poll officials evacuated booths 170 and 167 of Manika constituency and conducted polling in an open field after suspected IEDs were spotted inside Mounadih primary school. Latehar SP Michael Raj said had no confirmation about whether the objects were IEDs.