Stage Set for 1st Phase of Jharkhand Panchayat Polls on Saturday

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Altogether 1,127 panchayats covering 72 blocks in 21 districts of Jharkhand will go to polls in the first of the four-phase panchayat elections on Saturday, officials said. Over 52 lakh voters, including 25 lakh women, are entitled to exercise their franchise and they will decide the political fate of 30,221 candidates in the three-tier panchayat polls.

Panchayat elections in the state are not held on party lines. 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. Now, the elections will be held for 9,819 posts7,303 panchayat members, 1,117 mukhiyas, 1,256 panchayat committee members and 143 Zilla Parishad members.

The voting will take place from 7 am to 3 pm. Polling parties have been dispatched to their respective locations. In sensitive areas, the parties were dispatched on Thursday, State Election Commission Secretary Radhe Shyam Prasad told PTI. 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. We have made adequate security arrangements both for electors and polling personnel. A large number of security personnel have been deployed at all polling stations to conduct peaceful polling, Prasad said.

Left-wing ultras have given poll boycott call in several areas. The counting of votes for the first phase of elections will be held on May 17. The other phases of the elections will be held on May 19, 24 and 29.

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