Colombo, Jan 29 (Agencies): Mainstream political parties in Sri Lanka are getting ready for legal battles ahead of the first ever nation-wide local council polls, to challenge the rejection of a record number of nominations.

The election department fixed March 17 as the date for the elections to elect representatives for 301 local councils, including in the north and the east.

The election department said 450 nominations submitted by political parties and independent groups in fray have been rejected, majority of which were from independent groups, while 148 were from political parties.

Political parties say they will take the matter to the court against the rejections of their candidates' nominations to secure placements to run in the local polls.

The ruling United National Freedom Alliance (UPFA) was the worst hit among the mainstream political parties by the rejections, followed by the main opposition United National Party (UNP).

All nominations filed for local councils in Jaffna district by the UPFA were not accepted due to mistakes in the Tamil translation of the party's name.

The UPFA also failed to secure nominations for three local councils in the Kilinochchi district, the former LTTE-hit area.

Rejection of the ruling party's nominations in the north is considered as a major hinder for the government as it minimises the opportunity to have a ruling party foot print at ground level.

Legal battles for getting nominations, if continued over a longer period, may delay the elections for respective councils.

This will be Sri Lanka's first nationwide local polls since the LTTE was defeated and its hold overthrown from the northern province two years back.