Ranchi, Dec 20 (IANS) Jharkhand recorded 49.01 per cent voting till 1 p.m. in the fifth and final phase of polling on Friday for 16 Assembly constituencies, an official said.
The polling began at 7 a.m. for 16 seats located in Santhal Pargana region of the state. The highest voting has been recorded at Maheshpur seat with 59.38 per cent.
There are a total of 237 candidates including 29 women aspirants whose fate will be decided by 40,05,287 voters. More than 35,000 security forces have been deployed to ensure peaceful polling.
The polling started late at two polling booths due to technical issues in Electronic Voting Machines. In Kathikuna locality of Dumka voters reached for polling on bullock carts.
Among the 16 seats, seven are reserved for Scheduled Tribes including Borio, Barhet, Littipada, Mahespur, Shikaripada, Dumka and Jama while others including Rajmahal, Pakur, Nala, Jamtara, Jarmundi, Mahgama, Poriyahaat, Sarath and Godda are in general category. A maximum of 26 candidates were in the Jarmundi seat while only seven candidates are in the race for Poriyahaat seat.
The 16 seats are spread across Sahebganj, Pakur, Dumka, Jamtara, Deoghar and Godda districts. Among these seats voting will be held on five seats – Borio, Barhet, Littipada, Mahespur and Shikaripada till 3 p.m. and in the remaining 11 seats voting will conclude at 5 p.m.
The key candidates include state ministers Raj Paliwar, Louis Marandi and Randhir Singh.
Chief ministerial candidate of Congress, JMM and RJD alliance, Hemant Soren is contesting polls from Dumka and Barhet. Soren is locked in a direct fight with state minister Louis Marandi in Dumka seat. She had defeated Soren in 2014 Assembly poll when Soren was the Chief Minister.
On 13 seats, there is a direct fight between BJP and the JMM, Congress and RJD alliance and on the rest of the seats the contest is triangular.