The first phase of polling for 13 assembly constituencies began in Jharkhand on Saturday.

Polling for the Jharkhand assembly elections will be held in five phases and counting of votes is scheduled for 23 December.

Incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under chief minister Raghubar Das, is seeking a second term while taking on the Grand Alliance of Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Rashtriya Janata Dal and other smaller parties.

Saturday will see 13 constituencies across 6 districts, with a total of 37,83,055 electorate, including 18,01,356 women and five third gender voters, exercise their franchise.

Fate of 189 candidates, including 15 women, will be sealed in the first phase. A total of 4,892 polling booths have been set up for the first phase of polling.

In this phase, BJP is contesting on 12 seats and supporting an independent candidate in one. The opposition alliance of the JMM, Congress and RJD are contesting on four, six and three seats respectively.

For the first time in India’s electoral process, people with disability and senior citizens above 80 years will be allowed to vote through postal ballots in the Jharkhand elections.

The rest of the phases will be held on 7 December, 12 December, 16 December and 20 December. The tenure of the current assembly ends on 5 January. In total, the state has 81 assembly constituencies, of which nine are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and 28 for Scheduled Tribes (ST).