RANCHI: Braving the early morning chill, over 13 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise in the first two hours of polling in 15 Assembly constituencies spread across four districts of Jharkhand today. Despite the chill, voters were seen standing in queues in front of the booths since 7 AM, when polling began.
Polling officials said Madhupur seat registered a voter turnout of 14.10 per cent, Deoghar recorded 12.96 per cent, Bagodar 14 percent, Jamua 11 percent, Gandey 9.29 percent, Giridih 10.84 per cent, Dumri 10.2 per cent, Bokaro 10.63 per cent, Chandankyari 14.12 per cent, Sindri 17 per cent, Nirsa 18 per cent, Dhanbad 15.69 per cent, Jharia 15 per cent, Tundi 17 per cent and Baghmara 15 pc.
Polling has been incident-free till 9 AM, the officials said.
A total of 43,48,709 voters are eligible to decide the fate of 217 candidates, including 16 women.
Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi is among the 13 candidates in the fray from Giridih seat.
Three incumbent ministers Mannan Mallick (Congress, Dhanbad), Suresh Paswan (RJD, Deogarh) and Haji Hussain Ansari (JMM, Madhupur) are in the electoral race today besides 11 MLAs who are seeking re-election.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Bahujan Samaj Party have fielded the maximum of 14 candidates each followed by the Jharkhand Vikas Party (Prajatantrik) with 13 candidates), CPI (three) CPI (M) and NCP in two seats each.
In all, 716 of the 3,718 polling stations are marked as highly sensitive and 2007 as sensitive.
Polling will end at 3 PM in the constituencies of Madhupur, Deogarh (SC), Bagodar, Jamua (SC), Gandey, Giridih, Dumri, Chandankyari (SC), Sindri, Nirsa, Jharia, Tundi and Baghmara constituencies while it will continue upto 5 PM in Dhanbad and Bokaro constitutencies,
Polling to 50 of the 81 seats has already been held in the previous three phases, which passed off peacefully.
The fifth and final phase for 16 seats is scheduled on December 20 and counting on December 23.