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Jharkhand ready for Assembly polls in 5th and final phase

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pollsRanchi, Dec 19 (PTI) With Jharkhand set to enter the fifth and final phase polling for 16 Assembly seats spread across six districts tomorrow, the fate of heavyweights including Chief Minister Hemant Soren will be decided in this phase.

Altogether 208 candidates, including 16 women are testing their luck in this phase, an EC release said.

Polling will begin at 7 AM and end at 3 PM in all the 16 constituencies.

Among the heavyweights, Hemant Soren, the JMM leader, is contesting from Dumka, apart from Barhait constituency, where he is facing challenge from former Morcha leader and BJP candidate Hemlal Murmu.

Assembly Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta is seeking re-election from Sarath, while state Rural Works Minister Lobin Hembrom is in the fray from Borio constituency – both being JMM candidates.

Besides Soren’s sister-in-law Sita Murmu nee Soren, who is seeking re-election from Jama, there are three JMM MLAs, one MLA each of Congress, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and the RJD in the fray.

Former minister Hari Narayan Rai, who contested as an independent from Jarmundi in the previous elections, is now contesting on a JMM ticket from the seat.

While the JMM has fielded candidates in all 16 seats, the BJP has put up 15 candidates.

There are 12 candidates, including one woman, from the Bahujan Samaj Party, while the Congress has fielded 11 candidates, including two women.

Other parties in the fray are CPI (four), CPI-M (six), NCP (two), JVM-P (15), RJD (six) and as many as 65 independent candidates, besides nominees of several registered parties.

Nala has a maximum 19 candidates, while Litipara has the least number of eight nominees.

According to the police, there is Maoist presence in only some pockets of Dumka and Pakur districts.

A total of 36,90,069 including 17,84,486 women voters will cast their votes in this round of the elections, with 2,31,148 voters in the age group of 18-19 years.

Of the 16 seats, nine are general, while seven are reserved for tribals. Pakur has the largest number of 2,91,379 voters and Barhait has the least 1,85,679 voters. .

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