Hyderabad: Polling was underway for the first phase of rural body elections in Telangana on Monday amid tight security, officials said.
Voting is underway to for 2,097 Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MTPCs) and 195 Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTCs). Candidates for 69 MPTCs and two ZPTCs were elected unopposed.
The Election Commission officials said that polling through ballot paper began at 7 a.m. and will continue till 5 p.m. In Maoist-infested areas in five districts, polling will end at 4 p.m.
Officials said separate ballot papers are being given to voters for MTPCs and ZPTCs. To avoid any confusion, every voter will be first given MTPC ballot paper and after casting the same in the ballot box, he/she will get a ZPTC ballot paper.
Elections to the rural local bodies are being held for the first time since the formation of Telangana state in 2014.
Following massive victory in Assembly elections held in December and sweeping gram panchayat polls in January, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is aiming at another electoral victory while it is also confident of making clean sweep of Lok Sabha elections held on April 10.
For ZPTC elections, a total of 882 candidates are in the fray. TRS and opposition Congress party are contesting on 195 and 190 seats, respectively. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also fielded 171 candidates.
According to the Election Commission, 7,072 candidates are in fray for MPTC polls.
The state poll panel has deployed over 1.5 lakh personnel for smooth conduct of the elections. Security arrangements were also made to ensure peaceful polls.
The second and third phase of the elections will be held on May 10 and 14.
State Election Commissioner V. Nagi Reddy said over 1.56 crore voters are eligible to cast their franchise in the elections to 5,817 MPTCs and 538 ZPTCs over all the three phases.
Counting of votes will take place on May 27.