Ranchi, December 9, 2014 ( PTI) Voting for the third phase election to the Jharkhand Assembly began today at 7 am in 17 constituencies spread across eight districts. A 50,16,657-strong electorate, including 23,55,728 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise to choose among 289 candidates, including 26 women. Chief Electoral Officer P.K. Jajoria said that six helicopters were engaged for air surveillance and airdropping of polling and security personnel.

Security forces are keeping a close watch in the Maoist-affected areas where 1,957 booths have been marked as highly sensitive and 1,477 as sensitive booths.

A 10-member team from Kenya is in Ranchi to see the democratic exercise.
Polling will end at 3 PM in 14 constituencies and continue till 5 PM in Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke constituencies.

Prominent candidates in fray are

former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi (Dhanwar), ex-Assembly Speaker C P Singh (Ranchi) and three incumbent ministers — Finance Minister Rajendra Prasad Singh (Bermo), Water Resources Minister Annapurna Devi (Kodarma) and Drinking and Sanitation Minister Jaiprakash Bhai Patel (Mandu).

Eight MLAs are also seeking re-election in this phase which has also 103 independent candidates in fray.

The Election Commission has also appointed 17 general observers, seven expenditure observers, two police observers, two awareness observers and 807 micro-observers for the third of the five-phase poll.

There are 5,862 EVM control units and 9,073 ballot units.

VVPAT (Voter verified paper audit trail) are in place in Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke constituencies.

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