As many as 11,989 candidates are in fray for the 2,567 seats of 15 Zilla Parishads and 165 panchayat samitis, which will go to polls in the first phase in Maharashtra today.
State Election Commissioner J S Saharia told reporters that the election machinery is geared up to ensure that the polls are conducted in a “free and fair” manner.
There are 24,031 polling centres and voting will take place between 7.30 am and 5.30 pm. However, in the Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district, it will be held between 7.30 am and 3 pm.
Saharia said the commission had announced on January 11 the two-phase election programme for 25 ZPs and 283 panchayat samitis, as well as 10 municipal corporations, including Mumbai.
Out of the 25 districts, the first phase of polling will take place for 15 ZPs and 165 panchayat samitis today while the second phase of polling for 10 municipal corporations, 11 zilla parishads and 118 panchayat samitis will take place on February 21.
For the 855 seats in 15 zilla parishads, there are 4,289 candidates, while for the 1,712 seats in 165 panchayat samitis, there are 7,700 candidates.
A total of two crore four lakh four thousand and 300 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. Out of the total voters, 96,24,479 are women, while 95 are registered as others.
About 1,58,604 election staff will be on duty, Saharia said adding that adequate police bandobast will be put in place and district superintendents have been given the necessary force. 48,062 EVMs will be put in place at the polling centres.
Apart from Gadchiroli, the districts going to polls tomorrow are Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Parbhani, Hingoli, Beed, Nanded, Osmanabad, Latur, Buldhana, Yavatmal, Wardha and Chandrapur. Panchayat samitis falling under these districts will also vote.