Bhubaneswar: Polling began at 8 am Thursday in 109 urban local bodies of Odisha, including three municipal corporations of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur, amid tight security, State Election Commission officials said.
Voting will continue till 5 pm across 47 municipalities, 59 NACs (Notified Area Councils) and three municipal corporations.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik cast his vote at Aerodrome Upper Primary School in ward number 53 of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area.
Long queues of voters, mostly women, were seen outside polling booths in the morning hours to avoid the scorching sun and heat wave conditions prevailing in the state capital, neighbouring Cuttack and Berhampur.
Over 40.55 lakh people are eligible to exercise their franchise in the general elections to the ULBs. Counting of votes will take place March 26.
A total of 22,000 polling officials are engaged in the voting process, while 205 platoons (1 platoon comprises 30 personnel) of police force have been deployed to maintain tight security.
Direct elections to the posts of mayors in municipal corporations, and chairpersons of municipalities and NACs are being held for the first time, the SEC officials said.
The commission has also introduced the NOTA option in urban polls.
As many as 6,411 candidates are in the fray — 569 nominees for chairperson/mayor posts and 5,842 contestants for councillor/corporator seats.