NEW DELHI : The five-phase polling in Jharkhand concluded on Friday with an estimated turnout of 65.17%, according to the Election Commission. In the previous assembly election in 2014 the state had witnessed 66.53% polling.

However, the figure can change as more data comes in.

The fifth phase of polling in 16 assembly constituencies across six districts had a tentative turnout of 71.69%, compared to 73.13% in 2014.

Counting for the Jharkhand elections will take place on 23 December. The outcome of the elections will be critical for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It is the third state after Maharashtra and Haryana to the go to polls since the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came back to power at the Centre in May 2019.

According to India Today-Axis My India exit poll, the alliance between the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has an advantage with a 37% vote share, and is estimated to pick up 38-50 seats. The BJP is projected to get 22-32 seats with 34% vote share, while Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) could grab 2-4 seats and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) 3-5 seats. In the 81-member Jharkhand assembly, parties will need 42 seats to stake claim to form the government. The BJP, under chief minister Raghubar Das, is seeking a second term.

The outcome of the election will be crucial for the ruling BJP specially since it was unable to form a government in Maharashtra, owing to differences with its former ally Shiv Sena. It also had to join hands with the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) to form an alliance government in Haryana.

For the opposition, too, the outcome will be an indicator of how well the pre-poll alliance has worked, and whether they have been able to join forces on the ground.

For the first time in India’s electoral process, people with disability and senior citizens above 80 years were allowed to vote through postal ballot in seven constituencies of Jharkhand.

“This facility of absentee voter status was provided for the first time in the country to PwD and 80-plus aged voters of total seven assembly constituencies in Jharkhand...A total of 2,018 PwD and 80-plus aged voters exercised their franchise using this provision of postal ballot across the state," said a release by EC.