Polling for 13 of the 81 Assembly constituencies in Jharkhand, spread over six Maoist-affected districts, began at seven this morning amid tight security. 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.
All 13 seats are spread over the six Maoist-affected districts of Palamau, Gumla, Lohardaga, Chatra, Garhwa and Latehar. The polling will continue till three PM, according to Election Commission sources. Ten sitting MLAs of different parties are again testing their fate in their respective constituencies while there are several former MLAs too in the fray.
Jharkhand Rural Development Minister Krishna Nand Tripathi of the Congress is the lone minister in the Hemant Soren cabinet contesting from Daltonganj. Former ministers Kamlesh Singh (NCP) and Bhanu Pratap Sahi (Navjawan Sangharsh Morcha), both on bail in connection with corruption charges, are contesting from Hussainabad and Bhawanathpur constituencies respectively.
Also in the fray are ex-ministers Sudha Choudhary (JDU-Chhatarpur), Radha Krishna Kishore (BJP-Chhatarpur) and Girinath Singh (Garhwa-RJD’s Jharkhand unit chief). The RJD, which is also supporting the Soren government, had fielded seven candidates, but nomination of one of its candidates was rejected.
The BJP, which has fielded 12 candidates and allotted one seat to pre-poll ally Ajsu Party, retained its sitting MLA Harikrishn Singh from Manika (ST). The JVM has fielded 11 candidates and is supporting two Trinamool Congress candidates from Gumla and Manika
The other parties contesting the election include BSP which has fielded 12 candidates, CPI six, CPI-M two, INC seven, NCP five, AJSU Party one, TMC two, and RJD six besides 72 independent candidates.