Jharkhand records 68pc turnout in 1st phase of panchayat polls

  • | Saturday | 14th May, 2022

Ranchi, May 14 (PTI) Over 68 per cent of 52 lakh voters exercised their franchise in the first of the four-phase panchayat elections in Jharkhand which passed off peacefully on Saturday, officials said.Altogether 1,127 panchayats covering 72 blocks in 21 districts of the state went to polls in the first phase amid tight security.Panchayat elections in the state are not held on party lines.“The first phase of the elections passed off peacefully. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state. Altogether 68.15 per cent polling was registered,” State Election Commission (SEC) secretary Radhe Shyam Prasad told PTI.Deoghar district recorded the highest 76.26 per cent voter turnout, while Lohardaga registered the lowest at 61.65 per cent.In the first phase, elections were scheduled to be held for 16,757 posts -- 14,079 panchayat members, 1,127 mukhiyas, 1,405 Panchayat Samiti members and 146 Zilla Parishad members.However, a total of 6,231 candidates have been declared winners unopposed in the first phase, as only one candidate was left in each of those posts after withdrawal and rejection of nomination papers, officials said.So, the elections were held for 9,819 posts—7,303 panchayat members, 1,117 mukhiyas, 1,256 panchayat committee members and 143 Zilla Parishad members.The counting of votes for this phase will be held on May 17.The other three phases of the elections will be held on May 19, 24 and 27.Prasad said that the SEC received some complaints regarding ballot paper errors from a few booths in Bokaro, Chatra and Seraikela Kharsawan districts.“We are collecting details. We will take call for re-polling after verification,” he said.The BJP alleged that Chatra deputy commissioner-cum-district election officer forcibly took the booth agents of all the candidates out of the polling stations in Seema panchayat.Claiming that as per the rules, candidates can keep two agents inside and outside polling booths, the party demanded a probe into the matter.A total of 14,079 polling booths have been set up for the first phase. Of them, 5,704 booths were declared sensitive and 5,450 others were hypersensitive.Left-wing ultras have given poll boycott calls in several areas but polling passed off smoothly there, officials said.In Ilami panchayat in Pakur district on the West Bengal border, monitoring was done with the help of drones, Superintendent of Police Hrudeep P Janardhanan said. PTI SAN CORR NN NN

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