Jharkhand polls: Campaigning ends for second phase

Ranchi (IANS) The campaigning for the second of the five-phase Jharkhand assembly elections scheduled to be held on Saturday ended on Thursday, officials said.

Of the 20 seats, polling will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 18 seats, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on two seats — East Jamshedpur and West Jamshedpur.

Sixteen of the 20 seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) and one for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates.

There are a total of 260 candidates in the fray including 29 women.

The highest number of candidates are in East Jamshedpur and West Jamshedpur with 20 on each seat while Seraikela has the least number – seven candidates.

The second phase of the Jharkhand assembly polls will decide the fate of heavyweights in the state.

The constituencies comprise all 14 seats in the Kolhan division and another 6 in South Chottanagpur division. Kolhan is a stronghold of the JMM if the results of 2014 are taken into consideration. Despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “wave”, JMM had won eight seats.

The focus is on the Jamshedpur East seat from where Chief Minister Raghubar Das is contesting. He is pitted against his old cabinet colleague Saryu Rai and Congress spokesperson Gaurabh Vallabh.

The 20 seats which will go to the polls in this phase are in Maoist infested areas.

In the second phase, besides Chief Minister Raghubar Das, more than half of the candidates in the fray are VIPs.

Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon, Urban Development Minister Neelkanth Singh Munda, Water Resources Minister Ramchandra Sahis, former Cabinet Minister Saryu Rai and state BJP president Laxman Giluwa are in the fray.

Jailed Maoist commander Kunadan Pahan is contesting from the Tamar assembly seat.

The BJP has fielded its candidates on 20 seats which include 2 female candidates, the Congress has pitted 6 candidates, the AJSU 12 candidates including 2 women contenders, the JVM 20 candidates including 4 female candidates and the JMM 14 contenders including one woman candidate.

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