Mumbai: Polling for 27 Zilla Parishads and 309 Panchayat Samitis across Maharashtra began on Tuesday morning with a total of 20,589 candidates in the fray.

Over three crore voters in rural Maharashtra are expected to decide the fate of 7,116 candidates for 1,624 seats in the Zilla Parishads and 13,473 candidates for 3,218 seats of Panchayat Samitis respectively.

Out of the total 3,89,04,388 voters who will exercise their franchise, there are 1,86,45,417 women and 2,02,58,971 men, State Election Commissioner (SEC) Neela Satyanarayan said.

As many as 59,914 polling booths have been set up and there are 7000 sensitive polling booths. Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place especially in the Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district in the state. Polling in Gadchiroli will be held in two phases February 7 and 12.

Counting of votes will be taken up on February 17.