Ranchi, Nov 30 (IANS) Jharkhand witnessed 64.44 per cent polling in the first phase of the vote in the 13 Assembly constituencies on Saturday, which is one per cent more than 63.29 per cent recorded in these seats in the 2014 elections.
Defying the Maoist boycott call, voters queued up in large numbers at polling stations since morning to caste their votes.
According to Election Commission final data, the polling per cent was 64.44. The highest polling 71.47 per cent was recorded at Lohardagga and the lowest 56.59 per cent at the Chatra seat.
There was no major incident reported in the first phase. Maoist rebels tried to create fear among people by triggering four landmine blast in Gumla and blew up a bridge.
Minor clashes were reported between workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in the Daltanganj Assembly seat. Congress candidate K.N. Triptahy waved his licenced revolver in the air after he was stopped from entering a polling booth.
The Election Commission has sought report on the incident and has cancelled his licence.
The 13 seats that went to polls are: Chatra, Latehar and Chattarpur (reserved for SC), Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika (all ST seats), Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawnathpur.
Of the 37,78,963 voters in this phase, 19,79,991 were men, 17,98,966 women and five belonged to the third gender. 189 candidates are in the race, including 15 women. A maximum of 28 candidates were in Bhawnathpur, and a minimum of nine in the Chatra seat.
According to Election Commission, of the 4,892 booths in the first phase, 4,585 were located in rural areas and 307 in urban areas. Of this, 121 were Sakhi booths and 417 model booths. In the first phase, webcasting facility was provided at 1,262 booths.
Heavy security arrangements had been made and helicopters were used for airlifting and dropping of the poll officials in difficult terrain and Maoist-hit areas.
The leading candidates, whose fate had been sealed in the first phase, included Jharkhand Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi, Congress state chief Rameshwar Oraon and former Minister and BJP candidate Bhanu Pratap Shahi.
The BJP is fighting 12 seats and supporting Independent on one seat. The Jharkahnd Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress, the RJD fighting poll in alliance have fielded candidates in four, six and three seats, respectively.
On nine seats, it was direct contest between the BJP and the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance.
Of the triangular on three seats, the contest in Lohardagga where between Congress state president Rameshwar Oraon, former state Congress chief, sitting MLA and now BJP candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat, and the All Jharkhand Students Union candidate Niru Bhagat.
In Hussainabad seat, the fight is four-cornered. Here former Minister and NCP candidate Kamlesh is drawing attention of voters. He was Minister in the Madhu Koda government and have spent time in jail in different cases.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Raghubar Das appealed voters to vote in large number.