The fifth and final phase of polls in Jharkhand on Friday has the highest number of non-Left Wing Extremism (LWE)-affected constituencies — a fact that comes as a relief for the law enforcement agencies here. Out of the 16 constituencies going to polls in the phase, 11 are non-LWE-affected, therefore polling in these 11 constituencies will continue till 5pm, a press communiqué from the Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) office said on Wednesday.
Borio, Barhait, Littipara, Maheshpur and Shikaripara are the five LWE-affected constituencies where polling will be allowed till 3pm, the communiqué further said. The remaining 11 constituencies – where polling will continue till 5pm – are Rajmahal, Dumka, Pakur, Nala, Jamtara, Jama, Jarmundi, Sarath, Poreyahat, Godda and Mahagama. “Based on the influence and presence of LWE groups in a constituency, we decide if polling in the said constituency will happen till 3pm or 5pm. Usually, the polling concludes at 3pm in the LWE affected constituencies,” said CEO Vinay Kumar Choubey.
The 16 constituencies are spread across six districts, and sale of alcohol was prohibited in all the six districts from 3pm on Wednesday, the CEO said. The dry days will continue for the next 48 hours and liquor shops will be allowed to operate after the polling is complete on Friday.
Voters will decide the fate of 237 candidates — 208 men and 29 women — in the final phase of polls on Friday. At least 26 candidates — the highest among all the constituencies in the final phase — are contesting elections from Jarmundi, whereas only eight candidates – the lowest in the phase – are contesting from Poreyahat, Choubey said on Wednesday. Jarmundi and Mahagama have four women candidates each, and all the remaining constituencies have fewer women candidates. There are no women candidates in Poreyahat and Maheshpur. The total number of voters in the three assembly constituencies under Sahebganj district is 7,47,193. The total number of voters in Littipara, Pakur and Maheshpur assembly constituencies under Pakur district is 7,36,287. Jamtara district has 5,00,099 voters in two assembly constituencies. For Dumka district’s four assembly constituencies, 8,87,832 voters will exercise their franchise. There are 2,73,989 voters in one assembly constituency of Deoghar district and 8,59,7787 voters in three assembly constituencies in Godda district.
A five-phase election began in Jharkhand on November 30. Friday’s polling will be the final phase of polls here, and the votes will be counted on December 23.