The first of the five-phase polling began in 13 assembly constituencies in Jharkhand today. The voting commenced at 7 am and will end at 3 pm, Election Commission officials said. A total of 37,83,055 electorate, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase across six districts. The fate of 189 candidates, including 15 women nominees, will be decided in the first phase of the polling in Chatra, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga, Manika, Latehar, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Chhatarpur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur.
Key candidates in the fray are Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee and state Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi from Bishrampur and state Congress president Rameshwar Oraon from Lohardaga seat. Oraon is taking on the former state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat after the latter joined the BJP recently.