Ranchi: The counting for Jharkhand Assembly Elections has begun for 81 seats which went to polls in five phases from 30 November to 20 December. The counting has begun with the postal ballots at 8:00 a.m. and the results are expected to be announced by the evening.
It is said to be a tough challenge for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as it will face the counting today. The exit polls, however, have suggested that opposition and alliance between Congress Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Janata Dal is likely to be the incumbent. Both JVM and AJSU have fielded candidates against the saffron party in several seats and results will set out the key contest to watch out for from each phase.
It is to be mentioned that Phase 5 of the elections in Jharkhand was said to be a key contest as voter did seal the fate of two Jharkhand ministers and former Chief Minister Hemant Soren in this phase.
The Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and Jharkhand Agriculture Minister Randhir Singh was seeking re-election from Saraswat, while state Women and Child Development Minister Louis Marandi was contesting against JMM's working President and former Chief Minister Hemant Soren from Dumka. Worth mentioning that Louis had defeated Soren in the 2014 Assembly Elections. The former Chief Minister is in fray from Barhait as well.
The saffron party is contesting on all 16 seats in the final phase and has fielded sitting MLA Ashok Kumar Bhagat, Anand Ojha and Amit Mandal from Mahagama, Raj Mahal and Godda constituencies respectively, while former Deputy Chief Minister and sitting JMM MLA Stephen Marandi was seeking re-election from Maheshpur. Fates of Janata Dal United State president and former member of Parliament Salkhan Murmu is also in fray as he was contesting from Sikaripara.
The tough competitions between the state parties did sweat out the national leaders as well. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had held nine rallies each to reach out to people, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and the star face of the party Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had addressed five public meets to lure the public.