Ranchi: Voting has begun in the second of the five-phase assembly elections in Jharkhand. Balloting is being held for 20 of the 81 assembly seats in this phase spread across seven Maoist-hit tribal districts. These polls will seal the fate of several high profile candidates including the Chief Minister and others.
In Jharkhand, former chief ministers Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda and three ministers are among 223 candidates, including 35 women, contesting from 20 seats-- 16 of them reserved for tribals. Jharkhand has an 81-member Assembly.
The seven districts going to polls in Jharkhand are Seraikella-Kharsawan, West Singhbhum, East Singhbhum, Khunti, Simdega, Ranchi and Gumla.
In the 20 seats which are going to polls in the second phase, BJP had eight MLAs, JMM five, Congress two and rest were held by Independents and other parties in the last polls.
While a maximum 15 candidates are in the fray for Jamshedpur (West) constituency, minimum eight nominees are contesting from Kharswan, Majhgaon, Torpa and Jagannathpur constituencies each.
The BJP is contesting 18 seats in this phase, leaving two - Tamar and Jugsalai - for its pre-poll alliance partner, the Ajsu party.
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM-Prajatantrik) and Trinamool Congress are contesting in a pre-poll alliance, with the JVM-P fielding candidates in 18 seats, conceding two seats to the TMC.
The JMM and Congress are contesting against each other in all the 20 constituencies.
Polling for 13 Assembly constituencies in the first phase had taken place on November 25 with a 62 per cent turnout.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly and former chief minister Arjun Munda is contesting for the fifth time from the Kharsawan seat as a BJP candidate.
Another former chief minister Koda, who had ruled the state for the maximum period of 23 months as an Independent MLA and had headed a Congress-JMM-RJD combine UPA, is in the fray from Majhgaon on a Jai Bharat Samanta Party ticket.
The third phase of voting in both the states will be held on December 9, fourth phase on December 14 and fifth on December 20.