Braving the scorching sun, people turned up in large numbers on Thursday morning to cast their votes in the second phase of panchayat polls in Jharkhand, officials said. Polling started at 7 am in 10,614 booths across 50 blocks in 16 districts, they said.
In the second phase, around 38.82 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. Till 9 am, 18.04 per cent voter turnout was recorded. Polling is underway peacefully in all the districts amid tight security, officials said.
A total of 4,451 polling stations have been declared sensitive, while 3,700 are hyper-sensitive. "The second phase of panchayat poll is underway today. Best wishes to all the candidates, voters and election workers on the occasion of this festival of democracy," Chief Minister Hemant Soren said.
Panchayat polls are not held on party lines in Jharkhand. Polling is underway in Khunti's Maoist-hit Karra, Torpa and Rania blocks. Defying the boycott call given by Maoists, voters turned up in large numbers at the polling booths. Drone cameras are being used to monitor the areas, officials said.
In Ranchi's five blocks — Bero, Lapung, Itki, Nagri and Kanke — polling is being held smoothly. The district administration has provided medical kits to polling parties in view of the heat, they said. "Medicines, including for fever, loose motion, gastric and vomiting, have been provided. Besides, there are also packets of ORS and bandages in the kit," said an officer.
Polling is being held in the second phase in 872 panchayats to elect 5,123 panchayat members, 866 mukhiyas, 938 panchayat committee members and 102 zilla parishad members. A total of 21,872 candidates are in the fray. Total 5,093 seats have already been decided uncontested in the second phase.
The voting will continue till 3 pm and the votes will be counted on May 22. Panchayat polls are being held in four phases in the state with the last phase scheduled on May 27. Meanwhile, the counting of votes for the first phase of polls, which began on May 17, is still on.
The first phase polls were held on May 14 in 1,127 panchayats to elect 7,303 panchayat members, 1,117 mukhiyas, 1,256 panchayat committee members and 143 zilla parishad members.
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