Incident-free polling in Jharkhand, about 30 pc voting till 11 am

Ranchi: Over 30 percent turnout was recorded in the first four hours of polling in 15 Assembly constituencies of Jharkhand where the penultimate round of the five-phase elections is going on peacefully.

The percentage recorded at Deogarh was 31.37 per cent, Giridih 27.76 per cent, Dhanbad 33.52 per cent, Madhupur 33 per cent, Bagodar 32 per cent, Gandey 27.34 per cent, Dumri 27.83 per cent, Nirsa 35 per cent, Jharia 30 per cent and Baghmara (34).

At Pirtand in Giridih Assembly constituency where Maoists posters asking the voters to boycott the polls had been removed, polling has picked up there. In Giridih town which experienced a slight drizzle at around 10.30 AM, polling has not yet picked up, officials said.

A total of 43,48,709 voters are eligible to decide the fate of 217 candidates, including 16 women, on Sunday. Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi is among the 13 candidates in the fray from Giridih seat.

Three incumbent ministers Mannan Mallick (Congress, Dhanbad), Suresh Paswan (RJD, Deogarh) and Haji Hussain Ansari (JMM, Madhupur) are in the electoral race today besides 11 MLAs who are seeking re-election.

Polling will end at 3 PM in Madhupur, Deogarh (SC), Bagodar, Jamua (SC), Gandey, Giridih, Dumri, Chandankyari (SC), Sindri, Nirsa, Jharia, Tundi and Baghmara constituencies while it will continue upto 5 PM in Dhanbad and Bokaro constitutencies.

Polling to 50 of the 81 seats has already been held in the previous three phases, which passed off peacefully. The fifth and final phase for 16 seats is scheduled on December 20 and counting is on December 23. This is the third Assembly election in Jharkhand after it was carved out of Bihar in 2000.

10 pc voters cast vote in first 2hrs in J&K

“The overall polling percentage till 10 AM for the 16 constituencies of Kashmir Valley is around 10 per cent, while over 13 per cent electorate exercised their franchise in Samba and Vijaypur constituencies of Jammu region,” the officials said.

They said the turnout in Samba was 13.56 per cent while in Vijaypur, it was 12.71 per cent.

Despite severe cold, people were seen going towards the polling booths and long queues of voters were seen outside the polling stations to exercise their franchise, the officials said.

The trends in voter turnout in eight constituencies of Srinagar city, which have witnessed low voter turnout in the past elections due to separatist boycott calls, pointed towards a higher poll percentage this time.

Sonawar constituency, where Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is contesting, witnessed the highest 9.24 turnout during the first two hours of polling, while Khanyar constituency in the city recorded 8.13 per cent turnout during the corresponding period.

Zadibal, Amirakadal, Eidgah and Hazratbal constituencies witnessed slightly over 7 per cent turnout each, while Batmaloo and Habbakadal constituencies of the city saw 6.24 per cent and 4.73 per cent turnout till 10 AM, respectively.

Anantnag constituency in south Kashmir, where PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is a candidate, saw 7.90 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the first two hours.

Pahalgam and Shangus segments in Anatnag district recorded brisk polling at 14.91 per cent and 14.93 per cent respectively while Shopian and Wachi seats also saw a healthy turnout of 10.68 per cent and 8.43 per cent respectively.

Police officials said the voting across the 16 constituencies of the Valley spread over three districts was going on peacefully with no untoward incident reported so far.

Stringent security arrangements have been put in place to ensure incident-free polling across the Valley, the officials said.

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