Heavy security for Jharkhand’s panchayat polls

Ranchi, Nov 21 (IANS) Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in the wake of a Maoist threat to disrupt the first of the four phases of panchayat polls beginning on Sunday, an official said.

It will be three-tier panchayat polls.

According to police sources, around 55,000 security personnel including troopers of paramilitary forces, Jharkhand Armed Police, the Indian Reserve Battalion and others have been deployed.

Maoist guerrillas have put up posters and banners threatening candidates and voters.

Polling will take place in 78 blocks of Jharkhand’s 24 districts between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The voting will take place for a total of 18,472 posts including that of zilla parishad member, panchayat samiti member, mukhiyas and gram panchayat members. A total of 36,967 candidates are in the fray.

According to state’s Chief Election Commissioner Shiv Basant, the total number of women candidates is 19,884. The total of voters in the first phase is 48.88 lakh including 23.48 lakh females who can cast their votes at 15,522 polling stations.

“Different shades of ballot papers will be used for electing each representative– white ballot paper for gram panchayat member, for mukhiya — pink ballot paper, for panchayat samiti member — green ballot paper and for zilla parishad member — yellow ballot paper would be used,” he said.

The total number of posts of gram panchayat members is 15,522, for mukhiya there are 1,243 posts, panchayat samiti members 1,552 posts and for zilla parishad members there are 155 posts.

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