Five-phase poll too exhaustive, say Jharkhand parties

 Main political parties today welcomed the Election Commission's announcement of Assembly polls for Jharkhand, but termed the five-phase election as too exhaustive.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 26, 2014, 00:34 AM IST

Ranchi: Main political parties today welcomed the Election Commission's announcement of Assembly polls for Jharkhand, but termed the five-phase election as too exhaustive.

"We expected a three-phase polling, because Lok Sabha elections in May had passed off peacefully. Five-phase election is a long drawn affair, which takes almost two months," BJP spokesman Ajay Maroo said here.

"Last time, Jammu & Kashmir had seven-phase elections, and the EC reduced it to five-phase this time. It could have also reduced Jharkhand's phases," Maroo said.

JMM General Secretary Suprio Bhattacharya said, "We had informed the EC that a regional party can't sustain a long drawn campaign due to limited resources."

"Now that poll dates have been announced, we welcome it. Moreover, security matters are of prime importance," Bhattacharya said, indicating the Maoist problem in the state.

Jharkhand PCC General Secretary Sailesh Sinha echoed Bhattacharya's statement saying the Congress was prepared for it.

Former union minister and senior Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay said, "Jharkhand is a naxal-affected state and movement of security forces requires time."

However, RJD leader and Jharkhand Water Resources Minister Annapurna Devi expressed displeasure over the long drawn electoral battle for just 81 seats.

"Only two states are going to polls, and forces should not be a problem. One-phase elections would have been better," he said.

There had been a three-phase election in 2005 and five-phase in 2009.

Officially, 18 out of 24 districts of the state are naxal-hit while Dumka and Pakur districts reported major Maoist incidents.

Dumka SP Amarjeet Balihar was killed last year while several policemen and polling officials were killed or injured during the May Lok Sabha elections.