Ranchi, Dec 7: Campaigning for the third phase of polling on December 9, which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi wooing voters, ended on Sunday.
Fourteen of the 17 constituencies going to the polls are Maoist-affected and campaigning ended there at 3 PM.
Electioneering ended at the normal time at 5 pm at Kanke, Ranchi and Hatia constituencies, Election Commission officials said. The Maoist-hit constiutencies are Kodarma, Barkatha, Barhi, Barkagaon, Ramgarh, Mandu, Hazaribagh, Simaria (SC), Dhanwar, Gomia, Bermo, Ichagarh, Silli and Khijri (ST) and are spread over Ranchi, Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Chatra, Seraikella/ Kharsawan, Ramgarh, Kodarma and Giridih districts.
Three ministers of the Hemant Soren government--Water Resources Minister Annapurna Devi (Kodarma-RJD), Finance Minister Rajendra Prasad Singh (Bermo-Cong) and Drinking and Sanitation Minister Jaiprakash Bhai Patel (Mandu-JMM) are seeking re-election in this phase.
A total 289 candidates, including eight sitting MLAs, 26 women and 103 independents are in the fray in the third phase. Lack of development in Jharkhand and corruption remained the twin issues in this round of campaigning by high-profile political leaders who promised to usher in progress if their parties were voted to power.
The Prime Minister, who had campaigned in the earlier phases too, in his election rally at Hazaribagh yesterday had said Jharkhand has enormous potential to become the number one state in the country and batted for a majority government.
Jharkhand, he said, did not require a coalition government as it would not benefit anyone and that it needed one with commitment to the people's welfare. Shah had alleged that Congress made Madhu Koda, an independent candidate, the state's Chief Minister who went to jail on corruption charges.
Rahul Gandhi, who addressed poll meetings in all the three phases too, had accused BJP of wanting to snatch power instead of empowering the people.