HYDERABAD: Elections to urban local bodies in Telangana have begun on Wednesday with the ruling TRS hopeful of a strong showing and the opposition BJP and Congress eyeing to make a mark.

As many as 120 municipalities and nine corporations will go for polls on Wednesday with over 53 lakh voters eligible to exercise their franchise. Polling started from 7 am and will continue till 5 pm. Counting will be taken up on January 25.

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However, Karimnagar Municipal Corporation will go for polls on January 25 and results declared on January 27.

We have made all arrangements to make the polling smooth and fast. There will be an average of 800 voters per booth, Telangana State Election Commissioner Nagi Reddy said. Replying to a query, he said the situation in clash-hit Bhainsa town was normal and polling will be held there.

The polls will be held for 2,647 wards in municipalities and 382 divisions in corporations. However, councillors to 80 wards and three divisions had been elected unopposed.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi working president and Minister K T Rama Rao has said his party would win a lion's share of wards and divisions.

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Both the national parties, which had failed to put up a good show in rural local bodies elections held last year, are keen to prove their strength this time.

As per the statistics provided by the commission, Congress could not file candidates in over 400 wards while BJP in over 700.

There will be 7,961 polling stations with 45,000 staff overseeing the poll process, a statement from the SEC said.

The state police said it has taken all measures for maintenance of law and order during the polling.

A total of 50,000 personnel have been deployed for fair and peaceful conduct of elections. Special arrangements have been made in Left Wing extremist affected districts, an official release said.

In a first of its kind step in the country, the commission will use facial recognition app in a bid to counter impersonation of voters on Wednesday and ten polling stations in Kompally Municipality of Medchal Malkajgiri district have been selected for the pilot project.

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