Ranchi, Dec 12: Polling for the third phase of the elections on 17 seats including the prestigious assembly constituency of Ranchi commenced amid elaborate security arrangements on Thursday.
An estimated 56.06 lakh voters will decide the political future of a total of 309 candidates including 32 women. The seats where elections are being held in the third phase included Koderma, Barkatha, Barhi, Mandu, Hazaribagh, Simaria (SC), Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Dhanwar, Gomia, Berma, Ichagarh, Silli, Khijri (ST), Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke (SC). A total of of 32 female candidates are among the 309 candidates who are contesting on these seats.
The total number eligible voters in this phase is 56,06,743 which included 29,32,657 male voters, 26,73,991 female and 95 third gender voters. A maximum of 25 candidates were on the Ramgarh seats while a minimum of 12 candidates each were on the Ranchi and Kanke seats respectively.
These 17 seats are spread across Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Chatra, Ramgarh Giridih, Bokaro, Koderma and Saraikela.Among these seats voting will be held on five seats namely Ranchi, Hatia, Kanke, Ramgarh and Barkatha from 7am to 5pm while in the remaining 12 seats voters will be able to vote between 7am to 3pm.
Eligible voters will be able to cast their votes on 7016 polling booths out of which 1293 are located in urban areas while 5723 were in the rural areas. In the third phase the election commission has provided webcasting facility on 2014 booths while the number of 'Sakhi Booths' was 44 and only 10 booths have been relocated in this phase which included 6 in Ichagarh and 2 each in Barhi and Barkgaon.
This time the commission has divided the polling booths in naxal and non-naxal areas on the basis of which 1008 polling stations were hyper sensitive and another 543 were sensitive in naxal areas while in the non naxal area 1119 booths have been declared hyper sensitive and another 2672 booths have been declared sensitive. The number of normal booths in this phase was 7016.
Prominent candidates who are in this phase included Urban Development Minister CP Singh, HRD Minister Neera Yadav, former Chief Minister and JVM-P supremo Babulal Marandi, former deputy Chief Minister and AJSU supremo Sudesh Kumar Mahto. In the assembly elections of 2014, BJP had won 10 out of these 17 seats while JMM had bagged three, Congress two, AJSU and CPI-ML one each.