Voting began on Saturday for the second phase of the Jharkhand Assembly polls. Around 12.35 per cent polling was recorded till 9 am on Saturday.

One person was injured when security personnel opened fire on a group of men who tried to snatch weapons from them in Gumla’s Sisai constituency, where polling is underway.

Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Murari Lal Meena said that personnel of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) had to open fire on the men, after they attempted to grab hold of their weapons near booth number 36 in Sisai constituency.

The injured person has been admitted to hospital and his condition is stated to be out of danger, said Meena, who is also the nodal officer for the assembly election-related security measures. The ADGP said polling is continuing peacefully and there is no other report of any untoward incident from anywhere else.

In the second of the five-phase Jharkhand assembly elections that began in 20 constituencies, the polling started at 7 am will end at 3 pm. Whereas, for the two Assembly seats, Jamshedpur East where Chief Minister Raghubar Das is contesting and Jamshedpur West, it will conclude at 5 pm.

There are a total 260 candidates in fray including 29 women nominees and 73 independents. Their fate will be decided by 48,25,038 voters including 23,93,437 women and 90 third gender. Voting is taking place in 6,066 polling booths of which 1,016 are located in urban areas and rest in rural areas.

Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon (Sisai), Rural Development Minister Neelkanth Singh Munda (Khunti) and BJP’s state unit president Laxman Gilua (Chakradharpur) were among the early voters.

A large number of people were also seen in queues waiting for their turn in Baharagora and Chaibasa constituencies, braving cold conditions, the officials said.

Police sources said that more than 40,000 security forces have been deployed in the second phase which is taking place in Maoist affected areas.

“Several of the constituencies going for this phase of polling are Naxal-affected. So, armed police have been deployed as a part of security measures,” Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer Vinay Kumar Choubey said.

Out of a total of 6,066 polling stations, 949 have been declared ‘critical’ and 762 ‘sensitive’ in Naxal-affected areas, Choubey further said.

The CEO said that 101 polling stations have been relocated due to security reasons, and free transport facility has been arranged for voters to reach these stations.

Webcasting facilities has been made available at 1,662 polling stations.

Of the 20 seats, 16 are reserved for the Schedule Tribe (ST) and one for Schedule Caste (SC).

Chief Minister Raghubar Das is pitted against former cabinet colleague Saryu Rai and Congress spokesperson Gaurabh Vallabh.

Also in the fray in this phase are Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon, Urban Development Minister Neelkanth Singh Munda, Water Resources Minister Ramchandra Sahis, former cabinet minister Saryu Rai and state BJP President Laxman Giluwa.

Jailed Maoist commander Kunadan Pahan is fighting from Tamar Assembly seat.

Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon (Sisai), Rural Development Minister Neelkanth Singh Munda (Khunti) and BJP’s state unit president Laxman Gilua (Chakradharpur) were among the early voters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier in the day tweeted (in Hindi), urging voters to come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.

Baharagora, Ghatsila, Potka, Jugsalai, Jamshedpur (East), Jamshedpur (West), Seraikela, Chaibasa, Majhgaon, Jaganathpur, Manoharpur, Chakradharpur, Kharsawan, Tamar, Torpa, Khunti, Mandar, Sisai, Simdega and Kolebira assembly constituencies are going to poll for the second phase.

The BJP is contesting in all the 20 constituencies in the second phase, while the opposition alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress is contesting in 14 and six seats, respectively. The RJD, which got a total of seven seats as per the seat-sharing formula of the opposition combine, has no candidate in this round. NDA ally AJSU party, which is contesting the assembly elections on its own for the first time since the creation of the state, has fielded candidates from 12 constituencies in this phase.

The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) has nominated leaders in all the 20 seats, and the Bahujan Samaj Party in 14 segments. The CPI is contesting in two seats, the CPI(M) in one seat and the NCP in two. Six candidates of the All India Trinamool Congress are also in the fray in the second round.

The first of the five-phase polling for 13 constituencies had concluded on November 30. The rest of the three phases will be held on December 12, 16 and 20. Counting will take place on December 23.