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Stage set for 1st phase of J'khand Panchayat polls

ranchi: 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 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 posts 7,303 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 respective locations. In sensitive areas, parties were dispatched on Thursday, State Election Commission Secretary Radhe Shyam Prasad said.

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, 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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