While the first phase of voting gets underway in 13 Jharkhand constituencies, Maoists have blown up a bridge in Bishnupur in Gumla district, according to ANI. No injuries have been reported. The Deputy Commissioner Shashi Ranjan has stated that voting will not be affected which started at 7 AM and will end at 3 PM.
Jharkhand: Naxals blow up a bridge in Bishnupur in Gumla district. No injuries reported. Deputy Commissioner Shashi Ranjan says voting not affected. #JharkhandElection2019— ANI (@ANI) November 30, 2019
Police are maintaining a tight vigil in the Maoists infested area. ADG of Jharkhand Murari Lal Meena said "Keeping in mind the fact that the first phase of elections are being held in mostly Maoist-infested area and there are 1500 hypersensitive booths. Deployment of forces has been done both on the ground and in air. Patrolling would be done in the air on special choppers". Maoists retaliated by killing 4 policemen in Latehar district, barely 24 hours after Centre declared that all Maoists have been flushed out of the state.
The first of the five-phase polling began in 13 assembly constituencies in Jharkhand commenced at 7 am and will end at 3 pm, Election Commission officials said. A total of 37,83,055 electorate, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase across six districts. The seats up for grabs are Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa, and Bhawanathpur.
BJP, which is seeking a second straight win under the leadership of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, is contesting in 12 seats in the first phase while it is supporting Independent candidate Vinod Singh from Hussainabad. The AJSU party is contesting on its own. The other parties contesting the elections are Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), Janata Dal (United) and the Left parties.
The rest of the four phases for the 81-member assembly will be held on December 7, 12, 16 and 20. Counting is scheduled for December 23. Currently, the BJP holds an outright majority of 44 seats in the 81 seat Assembly.