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Second phase of assembly poll in Jharkhand on Saturday

Polling will be held between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. in Jamshedpur(East) and Jamshedpur(West) constituencies, while in the rest of the 18 constituencies voters will exercise their franchise between 7 a.m and 3 p.m, an EC release said. A total 47,24,968 voters, including women and third gender voters will decide the fate of 260 candidates, the EC sources said.

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  • Addressing an election rally in Khunti on the second leg of his campaign for the assembly polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said people of Jharkhand have faith that BJP alone can ensure the state's development. He accused the Congress of delaying resolution of the vexed Kashmir problem and the Ayodhya dispute.

    "Rahul Baba says why are you bringing NRC, where will they go and what will they eat. Why? Are they your cousins? By 2024, the BJP government will identify every single intruder in the country and throw them out," Union Minister Shah said. He also slammed the Congress saying the party cannot keep the country safe or uproot Naxalism from the Jharkhand.

    The alliance between Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress seems to be on real test in Sisai assembly constituency (ST) from where BJP nominee is Jharkhand assembly speaker Dinesh Oraon.

    Bhanupratap Shahi, who had won the Bhawanathpur seat as the nominee of a local political outfit in 2014, has now joined the BJP and is its nominee for the seat in this election. The BJP candidate whom Shahi had defeated five years ago, Anant Pratap Dev, is trying his luck to enter the state assembly as an independent.

    A total of 37,83,055 electorate, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the first phase across six districts.

    Addressing an election rally in Chatra, Jharkhand, BJP President Amit Shah said that there has been no past record of corruption of BJP's Raghubar Das government in the state. The Home minister claimed that the law and order situation has improved in the state and the "Raghubar Das government has buried Naxalism 20-feet under the earth in Jharkhand.

    The think tank flagged schemes, largely related to women, such as Bank sakhi, Pashu sakhi, ujjwala didi, and said they have been exemplary in their impact. Public Policy Research Centre's Sahasrabuddhe said "it was the stability of the Raghubar Das government that was most important, apart from the integrity in its implementation of schemes."

    “I want to ask Soren Babu (JMM’s working president) to explain the stand of the Congress when youths of Jharkhand were demanding Jharkhand’s upgradation as a separate state,” Shah said. He addressed another rally in Garhwa on Thursday. This is Shah’s second visit to Jharkhand this week to address rallies. He blamed the Congress for stalling the Ayodhya case.

    Addressing a poll meeting, the prime minister congratulated the Raghubar Das-led for completing his five- year term, a first in Jharkhand since it attained statehood. Condemning last week's Naxal violence in the poll- bound state, the PM also paid tribute to the four policemen who were killed in the attack.

    Congress’s push for higher OBC reservation is being seen as an attempt to blunt BJP and its disgruntled ally Ajsu-P’s attempts to get the first-mover advantage on this issue. Amit Shah had announced at a rally in Lohardaga last week that a commission would be set up to review OBC quota, based on the population demographics in Jharkhand.

    The BJP is in power in the state 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 Raghubar Das. BJP had won 37 seats in the 2014 Jharkhand polls and got past the majority mark in the Assembly as a number of MLAs from other parties joined it.

    Congress president Sonia Gandhi approved the candidature of Sona Ram Sinku from Jaganathpur (ST), Suresh Baitha in place of Rajiv Kumar from Kanke (SC) and Sunny Toppo from Mandar. The Jarkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal had recently announced a pre-poll tie-up for the state with former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren.

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