Heavy security for key Jharkhand assembly by-election

January 4th, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Jan 4 (IANS) Heavy security arrangements are in place for the by-election to the Tamar assembly seat, scheduled Monday, from where Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren is seeking entry to the state legislature. “To ensure a violence-free and fair election, 70 companies of security personnel have been deployed in the constituency. Out of these, 28 companies are of paramilitary forces,” a police official told IANS.

Tamar is one of the worst Maoist-affected areas of the state, where the left-wing rebels virtually run a parallel government. The by-election was necessitated after sitting legislator and former minister, Ramesh Singh Munda of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) legislator was killed by the rebels July last year.

Earlier in May, a delivery van of the ICICI Bank van was hijacked in the same area by Maoist rebels, who looted Rs.50 million in cash and one kg gold from it.

The constituency, with a total electorate of 158,000, has 247 polling booths, out of which 180 have been declared ‘highly sensitive’ and the rest ’sensitive’.

Besides Soren, there are 14 other candidates in the fray out of which the most prominent are Munda’s widow, Basundhara Munda of Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Raja Peter of Jharkhand Party (JP).

The contest is crucial for Soren as he has to get elected to the state assembly before Feb 27 to fulfil the constitutional obligation of becoming a member of the state legislature within six months of assuming office. He had taken over as Chief Minister Aug 27 last year.

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