Jharkhand Assembly Elections 2019 LIVE: High-stakes Battle for BJP as Voting Begins in 17 Constituencies

Jharkhand Assembly Elections 2019 LIVE: High-stakes Battle for BJP as Voting Begins in 17 Constituencies

CEO Choubey said about 40,000 polling personnel have been deputed to conduct smooth and peaceful voting. He said the polling personnel were apart from the deployment of security forces across the 17 constituencies, which have left-wing extremism pockets. Of the total 7,016 polling stations set up for the third-phase, 1,008 are marked as critical' and 543 sensitive' in Naxal-affected areas.

A total of 1,119 polling stations are critical and 2,672 polling stations are sensitive in non-Naxal affected areas. There are 13,504 ballot units, 8,772 controlling units and 9,123 VVPAT in the 17 seats, with double ballot units set up in nine of the constituencies as there are sixteen or more candidates in the fray. A total of 2,014 polling stations have webcasting facilities, 329 model polling stations and 44 polling stations will be conducted by women polling personnel.

The 17 constituencies, including two reserved for SC candidates and one ST candidate, are spread over eight districts.

The seats where polling is being held are Kodarma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribag, Simaria (SC), Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri (ST), Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke (SC), the Election Commission said in a release.

Notable candidates in the fray are former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, Urban Development Minister CP Singh and Education Minister Neera Yadav.

While Marandi, the president of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), is contesting from the Dhanwar seat, Singh and Yadav are fighting from Ranchi and Kodarma constituencies respectively.

Former deputy chief minister and AJSU party president Sudesh Mahto is trying his luck to regain Silli seat after he lost the 2014 assembly polls and the subsequent bypoll to JMM candidates Amit Mahato and his wife Seema Mahato. The JMM has re-nominated Seema Mahato.

The BJP has not fielded any candidate from Silli though the NDA allies are fighting the polls separately, for the first time since the state's creation. The first-phase polling for thirteen seats and the second-phase for twenty seats had concluded on November 30 and December 7 respectively. The fourth and the fifth phases polling for 15 and 16 seats will be held on December 16 and 20 respectively. Votes will be counted on December 23.