Final phase polling begins in Jharkhand

Ranchi: Polling today began in 16 constituencies with Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren contesting in two seats in the fifth and final round of elections for the 81-seat state assembly.

Amid adequate security deployment, the exercise began at 7 am and will end at 3 pm in all the seats – Rajmahal, Borio (ST), Barhait (ST), Litipara (ST), Pakur, Maheshpur (ST), Sikaripara (ST), Nala, Jamtara, Dumka (ST), Jama (ST), Jarmundi, Sarath, Poreyahat, Godda and Mahagama.

The constituencies are spread over six districts – Dumka, Pakur, Godda, Sahibganj, Jamtara and some parts of Jarmundi seat coming under Deogarh district.

There are nine general seats and seven reserved for tribals.

In all 36,90,069 voters, including 17,84,486 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose among 208 candidates, 16 of them women.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Assembly Speaker Shashank Sekhar Bhokta are among the 208 candidates.

Soren is contesting from two seats—-Dumka and Barhait. He had won from Dumka in the 2009 polls and is facing challenge from former JMM veteran and present BJP candidate Hemlal Murmu from Barhait, a seat Murmu had won last time as JMM candidate.

Soren’s opponent in Dumka is, among others, BJP’s L. Marandi.

The Assembly Speaker is contesting from Sarath while Rural Works Minister and JMM candidate Lobin Hembrom is the lone minister in the Soren Cabinet contesting from Borio constituency.

Soren’s sister-in-law Sita Murmu nee Soren, who is among the 16 JMM candidates in the last leg of the assembly elections, is seeking re-election from Jama.

The BJP has nominated 15 candidates, including one women, in the final phase of the elections.

The Bahujan Samaj Party has fielded 12 candidates, including one woman while the Congress has 11 candidates, including two women. .