Polling is underway in the municipal elections in Telangana on Wednesday amid elaborate security arrangements. The polling began at 7 am in 120 municipalities and nine municipal corporations across the state and it will continue till 5 pm.
As many as 53.37 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes to elect 325 corporators for municipal corporations and 2,727 councillors for municipalities.
While the notification was issued for elections in 3,052 municipal wards, polling will not be held in 81 wards, where the candidates were elected unanimously.
A total of 1,746 candidates are in fray in the municipal corporations polls while 11,099 candidates are testing their political fortunes in municipalities.
State Election Commissioner V. Nagi Reddy said that 1,438 polling stations in nine municipal corporations and 6,325 polling stations in 120 municipalities have been opened. About 45,000 polling personnel are manning the polling centres.
Authorities have deployed 50,000 policemen as part of elaborate arrangements to ensure free and fair polling.
The government has declared a holiday in the areas where elections are being held on Wednesday.
State Election Commission (SEC) officials were monitoring polling through web-casting in 2,406 polling centres while poll process is being videographed in 2,072 centres.
For the first time in the country, SEC is using 'Face Recognition App' to prevent fake voting. Ten polling stations under Kompally municipality in Medchal-Malkajgiri district were selected for the pilot project of 'Face Recognition App'.
However, the project has been met with a fair amount of criticism.
Out of 73 new municipalities created in the state last year, 68 are facing elections for the first time. Women will have 50 per cent reservation in all civic bodies.
Elections are not being held in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and 10 other urban local bodies as their tenure is not yet over.
Polling for Karimnagar municipal corporation will be held on January 24.
Ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has fielded candidates in all municipal wards. It faces rebel problem in some places. Main opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are also contesting the polls in majority of the wards. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has fielded candidates in 276 wards.