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Congress releases final list, gets battle-ready for Jharkhand

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New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) The Congress on Friday announced its final list of candidates for the five-phase Jharkhand Assembly elections slated to start on November 30.

The three names the party released on Friday are Yogendra Baitha from Simaria, Basudev Verma from Bagodar and Sweta Singh from Bokaro constituency. She replaces Sanjay Singh.

The Congress will fight from 31 seats in the mineral-rich state, in alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (43) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (7). However, it saw a setback with former state chief Pradeep Balmuchu quitting the party and joining the All Jharkhand Students Union as he was miffed by denial of ticket.

The Congress is pitching its top leaders for the campaign in Jharkhand, including former chief Rahul Gandhi who had made cameo appearances in Maharashtra and Haryana polls.

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Jharkhand Assembly polls: 13.03 per cent voter turnout till 9 am

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Jharkhand witnessed 13.03 per cent polling till 9 a.m. on Saturday for the second phase of the Assembly polls.

The highest polling has been recorded in the Sraikel Assembly seat with 15.66 per cent and lowest at Kolebira with 8.5 per cent

The polling which started at 7 a.m. will end at 3 p.m. Whereas for the two Assembly seats, Jamshedpur East and Jamshedpur West, it will conclude at 5 p.m.

For the 20 Assembly seats, where voting was underway, the fate of 260 candidates will be decided by 48,25,038 voters including 23,93,437 women. Voting was taking place in 6,066 polling booths of which 1,016 are located in urban areas and the rest in rural areas.

Police sources said that more than 40,000 security forces have been deployed in the second phase, which is taking place in the Maoist affected areas.

Of the 20 seats, 16 are reserved for the Schedule Tribe (ST) and one for the Schedule Caste (SC).

Chief Minister Raghubar Das is contesting from the Jamshedpur East seat, where he is pitted against former cabinet colleague Saryu Rai and Congress spokesperson Gaurabh Vallabh.

Also in the fray in this phase are Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon, Urban Development Minister Neelkanth Singh Munda, Water Resources Minister Ramchandra Sahis, former cabinet minister Saryu Rai and state BJP President Laxman Giluwa.

Jailed Maoist commander Kunadan Pahan is fighting from the Tamar Assembly seat.

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Jharkhand polls: One dead in clashes in Gumla

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Ranchi: Two incidents of violence have been reported in Jharkhand on Saturday where polling for the second phase on 20 Assembly seats is underway.

At least one person was killed and six others including policemen were injured in clashes and subsequent police firing in Jharkhand’s Gumla district.

The problem began at booth no 36 of Sisai constituency of Gumla district when people got angry due to delay in voting. They started pelting stones on the police, who retaliated with firing in which one youth sustained bullet injuries who later died in the hospital. He has been identified as Mohammad Geelani (28).

In the clashes at Sisai, an officer in-charge Vishnu Deo Chauhdray and two policemen sustained injuries.

The Election Commission has sought an explanation from the Gumla district administration.

In another incident, Maoist Guerrillas set on fire a bus which was going to a polling booth in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district.

According to the Police, Maoist Guerrillas set the bus on fire at Jojohatu of West Singhbhum district.

The polling is underway for 20 assembly seats of Jharkhand on Saturday.

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‘Delhi Assembly poll schedule to be announced by Jan 10’

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New Delhi, Dec 6 : Soon the ongoing Jharkhand Assembly election ends with the counting of votes on December 23, the Election Commission plans to set in motion the process for the Delhi Assembly elections, slated for early next year.

According to sources in the polls, the election schedule for the Delhi polls could be announced by January 10. The Model Code of Conduct would come in place simultaneously with the announcement.

Sensing the poll announcement could come by early next month, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in the city is seeking to announce the start of pending projects before the code of conduct is in place. The announcement of 11,000 wifi hotspots by December 16 is being seen as an example.

The Kejriwal government will complete five years by February 14 and the elections are slated to be held before this date. The Election Commission will have to allot a month for the entire election process, which will include sufficient time for parties to campaign as well as the polling and counting process.

According to the sources, the EC, this time, wants to complete the entire process well before the deadline. For the 2015 elections, the elections were announced on January 12 and the voting held on February 7.

The sources stressed that this time, the poll panel is likely to announce the poll schedule much before January 10. In view of the impending announcement, the ruling AAP as well as the opposition BJP and Congress have started their electoral preparations.

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