No Vote Cast at 21 Booths in Phase II of Jharkhand Assembly Poll

During the second phase of the assembly elections, no vote was cast in 21 polling booths of Jharkhand, all which fall under Maoist stronghold, said officials.

“Not a single voter turned out on 21 polling booth in the second phase of the polls,” said Ashok Kumar Sinha, joint chief electoral officer.

“There is no provision for repolling in such booths,” Sinha said.

It may be mentioned that out of 81 assembly seats, 14 went to polls on Wednesday. Of these 14, 12 were in Maoists infested region.

In the morning, a paratrooper was killed when Maoist guerrillas triggered a blast at Giridih’s Teliabahiyar village.

According to sources in the election department, two booths in the Dumri assembly constituency in Giridih district saw zero turnout as voters stayed away because of fear of the guerrillas.

Similar fear kept voters away in other places as well, including in the Tamar assembly seat where four polling booths saw zero turnout. At some places, polling officials left the booths at 2 pm, an hour before polling closed.

The Tamar seat had come in the limelight this January when then chief minister Shibu Soren lost a bypoll there, leading to president’s rule in the state.

Despite a Maoist boycott call, polling percentage was higher in the second phase than the first. Polling percentage on Wednesday was 54.2 percent, up from 53 percent in the first round.

The five-phase election process will end on Dec 18. Counting will take place on December 23.

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