Jharkhand polls: People defy Maoist threat, break voting records

Ranchi/New Delhi: The people of Jharkhand Tuesday defied a Maoist threat and turned up in large numbers to break previous records in the second of the five-phase assembly elections in the state, an official said.

"A record around 65 percent polling took place in the 18 constituencies in the second phase. Polling was by and large peaceful. No untoward incident was reported in the state," an election official told IANS.

The highest polling of 73 percent was recorded in Bhragora, followed by Majghao and Kharsawa with 72 and 71 percent, respectively.

The turnout in these constituencies in the 2009 assembly election was 58.26 percent, while it was 63.82 percent in this year's Lok Sabha polls, Election Commission officials said in New Delhi.

Former chief minister Madhu Koda is contesting the polls from Majhgaon.

High turnout was witnessed in Maoist affected and rural areas of the state, but the urban areas registered low voting.

Former Lok Sabha deputy speaker Karia Munda caste his vote in Khuti.

Young voters said they wanted a stable government in the state, as Jharkhand has witnessed nine governments and President's rule four times in the last 14 years.

Over 44 lakh voters were eligible to elect their representatives from among 223 candidates in 18 constituencies.

Among the key candidates whose fates were sealed in the voting machines were two former chief ministers - Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda - contesting from Seraikela and Majhgao seats, respectively.

Three Jharkhand ministers - Banna Gupta and Geetasri Oraon of the Congress and Champai Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) also contested the polls.

Balloting took place at 5,051 polling booths.

Polling began at 7 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m. in 18 seats, while it continued till 5 p.m. in the two constituencies of Jamshedpur (East) and Jamshedpur (West).

In the second phase, 17 of the 20 seats were reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The Bharatiya Janata Party had won eight of the seats in the 2009 assembly polls.

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