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First-ever assembly election in Jharkhand
February 03, 2005 09:55 IST
Polling for the first-ever Jharkhand assembly elections began on Thursday morning.
The fate of four ministers and 12 legislators, besides 386 other candidates, would be sealed by 53,60,098 voters in the first phase in 24 constituencies, all of which fall under Naxal-infested districts.
In the face of a poll boycott call by the Naxalites, elaborate security arrangements have been made. Five helicopters are ready for surveillance and transporting special task force personnel.
A total of 3,705 of the 4,620 polling stations have been declared sensitive.
The main opponent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal (United) combine is the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress alliance, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal is fighting it alone.
Industry Minister Ravindra Rai (Rajdhanwar), PHED Minister Satyanand Bhokta (Chatra), Rural Development Minister Chandramohan Prasad (Giridih) and Agriculture Minister Dev Dayal Kushwah (Hazaribag) are the members of the Arjun Munda cabinet seeking re-election to the 81-member assembly.
The other prominent legislators whose fate would decided are former speaker and Jharkhand unit JD(U) president Inder Singh Namdhari (Daltonganj), RJD state unit president Yogendra Baitha (Simaria) and RJD's legislative party leader Girinath Singh (Garwah).
Meanwhile, just hours before the polling started, suspected Naxalites triggered a landmine blast killing seven policemen.
Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005