Ranchi: As the first phase of polling in Jharkhand ended at 4 pm on Saturday (November 30), it recorded a voter turnout of 62.87%.

The first of the five-phase Assembly election which began today saw sporadic incidents of violence, news agency PTI quoted officials as saying.

Phase 1 saw a total of 7,83,055 voters, including 18,01,356 women and five third-gender voters across 13 constituencies in the polling, which began at 7 am, Election Commission (EC) officials said.

Violence was reported from Koshiara and Hussainabad where Congress candidate KN Tripathi was seen brandishing a gun which he said was done in “self-defence” while trying to resist booth-capturing.

Alleging a violation of the Model Code of Conduct, the BJP said Tripathi had taken his licensed gun inside the polling booth.

Palamu deputy commissioner and also the returning officer Shantanu Agrahari said a minor clash broke out between two groups near Kosiyara polling station in Daltonganj Assembly constituency.

The agitators broke the window panes of a police vehicle after the Congress candidate Tripathi allegedly tried to enter the polling booth with arms, he said.

He also added that the situation was quickly brought under control. Police have seized a pistol and three cartridges, which were allegedly in Tripathi's possession, Agrahari said.

Key candidates in the fray in phase 1 are BJP nominee and state health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi from Bishrampur and Jharkhand Congress president Rameshwar Oraon from Lohardaga seat. Oraon is taking on the former state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat after the latter joined the BJP recently.

After the loss of the big state of Maharashtra, this is going to be a test for the ruling BJP whose chief minister Raghubar Das faces anti-incumbency, rural distress, resentment over lack of jobs, and even a divide within over the choice of poll candidates.

Voting dates for the next four phases will be December 7, December 12, December 16 and December 20. The election results will be declared on December 23.