Polling is underway for the third phase of panchayat elections in Jharkhand on Tuesday, amid tight security arrangements, an official said. Voting began at 7 am for elections of members to 1,047 panchayats across 19 districts of the state and will continue till 3 pm.
Polling has so far been peaceful in 12,912 booths across 70 blocks. Around 18 per cent voter turnout was recorded till 9 am, a State Election Commission official said. Long queues were seen outside many booths as people turned up early for casting their votes.
As many as 6,021 polling booths have been declared sensitive and 3,804 hyper-sensitive, the official said. More than 46.94 lakh voters, including 22.86 lakh women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the fate of 27,343 candidates in the third phase of the rural polls.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said, The third phase of panchayat polls is underway in the state. My best wishes to all the candidates, voters, poll officers and workers engaged in polling exercise. Panchayat elections are not held on party lines in Jharkhand.
In Ranchi district, polling is going on in four blocks Ormanjhi, Namkum, Angara and Silli. Ranchi deputy development commissioner (DDC) Vishal Sagar is monitoring the voting process from a control room. He directed polling officials to report to the authorities concerned immediately if any disturbance is found during the exercise. Voting is going on peacefully across 778 booths in Deoghar and 751 in West Singhbhum, another official said. Polling is being held to elect 6,370 panchayat members, 1,043 mukhiyas, 1,165 panchayat committee representatives and 126 zilla parishad members.
Altogether, 5,950 candidates have already been declared elected unopposed in the third phase, the official said. Votes will be counted on May 31. Panchayat polls in the state are being held in four phases in the state with the last round scheduled on May 27. The first and second phases of polls were held on May 14 and 17.
The counting of votes for the second phase of polls, which began on May 22, is still on, while that of the first round was completed.