15.36 per cent polling in Jharkhand till 9 am

An estimated 15.36 per cent of the total 66,85,401 voters exercised their franchise till 9 am on Sunday for four Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand, an election official said.

This is the third phase of polling in the state and the country's sixth.

Voters queued up before booths in Giridih, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur and Singhbhum (ST) constituencies since early morning and the polling began at 7 am.

The polling, which is peaceful so far, will be held till 4 pm.

Jharkhand Water Resources Minister and Ajsu party leader Chandraprakash Choudhary and three sitting BJP MPs --- P N Singh from Dhanbad, B B Mahato from Jamshedpur and Laxman Gilua from Singhbhum constituencies -- are among the 67 candidates, including 10 women, in the fray.

Choudhary is facing challenge from JMM MLA Jagarnath Mahato in Giridih while BJP's P N Singh is facing Congress candidate Kirti Azad from Dhanbad.

Azad, who had won the Darbhanga seat in Bihar, has been nominated in Dhanbad by the Congress as per the Mahagathbandhan seat sharing adjustment.

Mahato is taking on JMM MLA Champai Soren from Jamshedpur while former chief minister Madhu Kodas wife and Congress candidate, Gita Koda, is vying for the Singhbhum (ST) seat against Gilua, the BJPs state unit president.

The JMM and the Congress are part of the "Mahagathbandhan" (grand alliance) in Jharkhand.

Polling for the first two phases in Jharkhand was held on April 29 and May 6, while the fourth and last phase will be conducted on May 19.