71% voting in final phase of Jharkhand polls

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Ranchi, Dec 20 (IANS) Jharkhand recorded around 71 per cent voting in the fifth and final phase of polling on Friday for 16 Assembly constituencies, an official said.
According to election commission data, 70.83 per cent voting took place in the final phase of polling. The highest voting was recorded at Nala assembly with 78.01 per cent and lowest at Dumka with 59.73 per cent.
The polling began at 7 a.m. for 16 seats located in Santhal Pargana region of the state. Voting concluded in five seats – Borio, Barhet, Littipada, Mahespur and Shikaripada at 3 p.m. and in the remaining 11 seats at 5 p.m.
There are a total of 237 candidates including 29 women whose fate will be decided by 40,05,287 voters. More than 35,000 security forces were deployed to ensure free and fair elections.
The polling started late at two polling booths due to technical issues in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). In Kathikuna locality of Dumka, voters reached for polling on bullock carts.
Among the 16 seats, seven are reserved for Scheduled Tribes including Borio, Barhet, Littipada, Mahespur, Shikaripada, Dumka and Jama while others including Rajmahal, Pakur, Nala, Jamtara, Jarmundi, Mahgama, Poriyahaat, Sarath and Godda are in general category. A maximum of 26 candidates were in the fray at Jarmundi seat while only seven candidates were in the race for Poriyahaat seat.
The 16 seats are spread across Sahebganj, Pakur, Dumka, Jamtara, Deoghar and Godda districts. The key candidates include state ministers Raj Paliwar, Louis Marandi and Randhir Singh.
Chief ministerial candidate of the Congress, the JMM and the RJD alliance, Hemant Soren is contesting from Dumka and Barhet. Hemant Soren is locked in a direct fight with Louis Marandi, who had defeated him in 2014 polls, in Dumka.
On 13 seats, there is a direct fight between the BJP and the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance and on the rest of the seats the contest is triangular.
The counting will take place on December 23.

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