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Commando style: How choppers, trains got polling officials to Maoist-hit Jharkhand areas

Polling parties and materials were taken by choppers to 126 polling stations in Singhbhum, Election Commission (EC) officials said, adding that about a 100 polling parties were sent via a special train from Chakradharpur to Rourkela and then onward to other destinations, often travelling by foot to reach remote areas.

News Arena Network - Ranchi - UPDATED: May 13, 2024, 02:55 AM - 4 mins read

Polling parties and materials were taken by choppers to 126 polling stations in Singhbhum, Election Commission (EC) officials said, adding that about a 100 polling parties were sent via a special train from Chakradharpur to Rourkela and then onward to other destinations, often travelling by foot to reach remote areas.

Commando style: How choppers, trains got polling officials to Maoist-hit Jharkhand areas

 Polling officials board a chopper on their way to remote Maoist-hit areas in Jharkhand. 'Taking to the skies for democracy: Polling teams winging it to Jharkhand's remote corners. Ensuring Each Vote!,' the Election Commission wrote in an X post. (Source: X, District Election Officer, West Singhbhum @DEOChaibasa).


Even as Jharkhand recorded 40.32 per cent voter turnout by 1 pm on May 13 for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2024, polling staff at remote polling booths  in the Maoist-hit Singhbhum region, efficiently managed voter queues, ensuring everything went off smoothly on the final day of a process that started days ago when they were sent on choppers and trains to these remote polling areas.

 

Polling in many areas here is being held for the first time or after several decades.

 

Polling parties and materials were taken by choppers to 126 polling stations in Singhbhum, Election Commission (EC) officials said, adding that about a 100 polling parties were dispatched via a special train from Chakradharpur to Rourkela.

 

Upon reaching their destinations, namely Manoharpur, Jaraikela, and Posaita stations, they continued their journey on vehicles or by foot to reach their assigned polling stations.

 

In order to conduct free and fair polls, EVMs and polling parties were live-tracked through GPS-enabled vehicles, West Singhbhum deputy commissioner and district election officer Kuldeep Chaudhary told PTI.

 

Adequate security arrangements had been made and Central forces including BSF and CAPF were on duty at Chakradharpur.

 

The EC in a post on X earlier shared pictures of polling parties and materials being sent by train, saying, "We are ready! Are you ready too. Polling parties in West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand getting dispatched to their polling centres through special trains."

 

 "Taking to the skies for democracy: Polling teams winging it to Jharkhand's remote corners. Ensuring Each Vote!," the EC wrote in another post.

 

"We are committed to ensuring that no voter is left out... we have identified many areas where polling will be conducted for the first time or after nearly two decades as these locations were badly affected by Maoist insurgency," the EC said.

 

Voting is being held for the first time in polling stations such as Middle School, Nugdi, and Madhya Vidyalaya, Borero, the DC said.

 

"In certain regions, polling parties trekked for 4-5 km. Our objective is to ensure comprehensive coverage, leaving no area untouched this time," he added.

 

Thalkobad and around two dozen other villages were earlier dubbed as "liberated zones" but the administration succeeded in establishing its presence through massive operations by security forces, including Operation Anaconda. A total of 15 new camps of security forces have been established in the region.

 

Singhbhum, a reserved constituency for Scheduled Tribes, boasts 14.32 lakh voters, with 7.27 lakh being women.

 

Geeta Kora, the incumbent MP and spouse of former chief minister Madhu Koda, has been nominated by the BJP, while MLA Joba Manjhi represents the INDIA bloc. Kora, formerly the sole Congress MP from Jharkhand, recently joined the BJP.

 

Singhbhum Lok Sabha constituency comprises six assembly constituencies — Seraikela, Chaibasa, Majhganon, Jagnathpur, Manoharpur, and Chakradharpur.

Apart from Seraikela, located in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, the remaining segments fall within West Singhbhum district.

 

Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand are set to occur over four phases on May 13, 20, 25, and June 1.

 

In the 2019 general elections, the BJP won 11 seats, with its ally AJSU securing one. Both the JMM and Congress also secured one seat each. 

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