New Delhi, Nov 1 (PTI) Jharkhand assembly polls will be held in five phases between November 30 and December 20, and the counting of votes will take place on December 23, the Election Commission said on Friday.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told reporters that the polls to 81-member assembly will be held on November 30, December 7, 12, 16 and 20.
The assembly polls in the Naxalism-affected state were held in five phases in 2014 as well.
The BJP is in power the state, which has a large tribal population, and an alliance of opposition parties, mainly the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, is making a determined bid to oust the government headed by Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
Thirteen constituencies will go to the polls in the first phase, 20 in the second phase, 17 in the third, 15 in the fourth phase and 16 constituencies will go to polls in the fifth phase.
With the Jharkhand polls coming on the heels of assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, its result will be keenly followed as political watchers believe that the opposition has been emboldened by the outcome in the two states where its numbers have been better than expectations.
Though the BJP, which was in power in Maharashtra and Haryana, emerged as the single largest party in both states, its numbers fell short of expectations even though the opposition was written off by the media and most pundits.
The saffron party has asserted that it has provided a stable, clean and development-oriented government in Jharkhand, with the opposition claiming that the state’s progress has stalled under its rule.
Das is the first state chief minister to have completed the full term of five years in the state, long plagued by fractured mandate and unstable governments.