Ranchi: Over 62 per cent of the electorate cast their votes in the 17 assembly constituencies in Jharkhand on Thursday. Polling in the eight districts was peaceful , claimed VK Chaubey, chief electoral officer of Jharkhand.
There was poor enthusiasm among urban voters as only 49 per cent of the electorate turned up at polling centres. Governor Draupadi Murmu and former cricket captain MS Dhoni along with his wife Sakshi cast their votes at Ranchi.
Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha and his son Jayañt Sinha voted at a booth in Hazaribagh.
In Silli, where the president of All Jharkhand Students Union, Sudesh Mahato is contesting, polling was about 80 per cent. In Ramgarh, it was 71 per cent. Polling for the fourth phase will be held on December 16.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday promised to waive farm loan up to Rs 2 lakh and procure paddy at Rs 2,500 if the opposition alliance came to power in Jharkhand, like it had done in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Gandhi addressed two election meetings at Rajmahal and Mahagama in the poll-bound Jharkhand during the day in favour of the opposition coalition comprising the Congress, JMM and the RJD.
Addressing a poll meeting in Rajmahal in support of JMM candidate Ketubbudin Sheikh, Gandhi said farmers would receive a minimum support price of Rs 2,500 for every quintal of paddy, if the Cong-JMM-RJD coalition wins majority.
"The first priority of the opposition alliance would be to waive farm loans up to Rs 2 lakh. The Congress governments in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh procure paddy at Rs 2,500 MSP. Farmers in Jharkhand will also get the same MSP rate, if we win the election," he stated.
Asserting that his party has always fulfilled its promises, he slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre for the "rise in unemployment" in the country.
"Unemployment rate is at a 45-year high. The Centre's decision to demonetize high-value notes hit the poor hard. People are still reeling under its effect.
"The BJP government, however, continues to function for the benefit of just 10-15 industrialists," Gandhi said at the rally, which lasted for around 10 minutes.
He also said that if voted to power they would protect land, forest and water of the poor and tribals in the state.
Addressing another rally at Mahagama block in the Godda assembly constituency, Gandhi assured that drinking water would be ensured to the people of Jharkhand if the opposition grouping formed a ministry in the state.
Congress's Deepika Pandey is contesting from Godda seat, which goes for polling in the fifth and final phase on December 20 along with Rajmahal, among others.