Ranchi, Dec 20:
Over 25 lakh people – more than 70 percent of the electorate – Saturday exercised their franchise in the fifth and last round of the assembly election in Jharkhand, officials said.
Sixteen constituencies voted Saturday in the final phase. Of the 16 seats, seven were reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST).
“In the fifth and final phase Saturday, the state witnessed a record 70.42 percent polling. The highest polling was recorded in Pakur with 75.5 percent, followed by Littipara with 75 percent,” an Election Commission official said.
The lowest turnout was recorded in Mahagama at 66.32 percent, the official said, adding that polling was by and large peaceful.
The fate of 208 candidates, including 16 women, were sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in this phase.
A total of 36,90,069 voters – that included over 19 lakh males and more than 17 lakh females – were eligible to vote at 3,773 polling booths.
Voting started at 7 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m.
Of the total booths, 833 were declared ‘very sensitive’, while another 1,496 were declared ‘sensitive’.
As many as 22,240 personnel were deployed in the fifth phase.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the sitting legislator from Dumka, contested from two constituencies – Dumka and Barhet.
In the 2009 election, the JMM had won nine of the 16 seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party two.
Other prominent candidates in the fray in the final phase were Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta, cabinet minister Lobin Hembrom, Sita Soren, Louis Marandi, Hemlal Murmu, Simon Marandi and Pradeep Yadav.
Votes will be counted Dec 23.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged voters to turn up in record numbers in the final phase of elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand.
“I urge all those voting in the fifth and final phase of Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand assembly polls to turn out in record numbers and vote,” Modi tweeted. (IANS)