RANCHI: Polling will be held tomorrow in 17 seats in Jharkhand in the third leg of the five-phase Assembly election where voters will decide the fate of 289 candidates, including former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi, ex-Speaker C P Singh and three ministers.
Voting will begin at 7 AM tomorrow in the 17 constituencies spread across eight districts amid tight security. It will end at 3 PM in 14 constituencies while the exercise will carry on till 5 PM in Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke constituencies.
Polling for 33 of the 81 seats was concluded on November 25 and December 2 with a turnout pf 61.92 per cent and 64.68 per cent respectively.
Marandi, who became the first chief minister of the state after resigning from the erstwhile Atal Bihari Vajpayee council of ministers on November 15, 2000, is locked in a tight contest at Dhanwar constituency which was won by his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) candidate Nizzamudin Ansari in the 2009 Assembly elections.
Ansari filed nomination on a JMM ticket but his papers were invalid following his conviction in a murder case.
Eight MLAs are seeking re-elections in this phase, having 103 independent candidates out of a total of 289, including 26 women.
The constituencies going to the poll are: Kodarma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribagh, Simaria (SC), Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri (ST), Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke (SC).
They are spread over eight districts - Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Chatra, Seraikella/Kharsawan, Ramgarh, Kodarma and Giridih.
Hatia has the highest 29 contestants while Silli has the lowest 11 nominees.
While the JMM has fielded 16 constituencies, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P) has nominated 15, BJP and the Bahujan Samaj Party have 14 contestants each followed by Congress (13), CPI (8), NCP (3), Ajsu party (3), RJD (3) and CPM (2) and 103 independents.
There are as many as 2,713,65 voters in the 18/19 age group in the electorate of 50,16,657, including 23,55,728 women. Out of 5,865, including 31 auxiliary, polling stations, 409 are situated in urban areas.
In all, 347 polling stations have web casting while 29,310 polling personnel have been deployed to oversee the democratic exercise.
The EC has also appointed 17 general observers, seven expenditure observers, two police observers, two awareness observers and 807 micro observers.
There are 5,862 EVM control units and 9,073 ballot units. More than one EVM will be used in Kodarma, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribagh, Ichagarh, Khijri, Ranchi and Hatia as there are more than 16 candidates in the fray.
Apart from these arrangements, VVPAT (Voter verified paper audit trail) will be used in Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke.