Despite a Maoist call for boycott of the Lok Sabha election, Jharkhand Thursday witnessed moderate turnout of 58.03 percent in the first phase of polling.
"(A total of) 58.03 percent electors cast their votes for four seats of the state. Koderma witnessed highest polling with 60.97 percent followed by Palamu, Lohardaga and Chatra with 59.30, 59 and 53.88 percent, respectively," an Election Commission official told IANS.
No untoward incident was reported during the polling that began at 7 a.m. and concluded at 4 p.m. as scheduled. "As many as 1,193 video cameras recorded the polling. Webcasting was done at 271 booths and 1,189 still cameras were also put into service," the official said. A total of 5,647,736 voters decided the fate of 62 candidates in the fray in the four constituencies.
Around 40,000 security personnel were deployed and six helicopters were pressed into service, of which two conducted aerial surveillance, officials said. Votes were cast at 7,058 booths, of which 2,134 were categorised as sensitive.
Maoist guerrillas put up posters in remote villages of Lohardaga, Palamu, Gumla and other districts, calling for election boycott.
Key candidates in the first phase of election in the state were former state police chief and BJP candidate V.D. Ram from Palamu who is facing sitting member and former Maoist leader Kameshwar Baitha of the Trinamool Congress and Manoj Bhuiya of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Koderma and Lohardaga constituencies witnessed triangular fights. In 2009, the BJP won two of the four seats, while one went to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the fourth was bagged by an Independent candidate.