NEW DELHI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Voting for the last phase of local elections in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh and northeastern Manipur began on Wednesday amid tight security and adequate arrangements, officials said.
Polling in the 40 constituencies spread over seven districts of Uttar Pradesh started at 7:00 a.m. local time (0130 GMT)and would go on until 5:00 p.m. (1130 GMT).
"The districts which are going for polls in this phase are Ghazipur, Varanasi, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Sant Ravidas Nagar Bhadohi, Sonebhadra and Mirzapur," an election official said. "Polling is going on smoothly and over 22 percent polling has been recorded until 11:00 a.m. local time (0530 GMT)."
The authorities have set up 14,560 polling centres for 14.1 million electorate to cast their votes. According to election commission officials, 535 candidates including 51 women are in fray for the seventh phase.
Meanwhile in Manipur, polling for the remaining 22 constituencies spread across ten districts was going on in full-swing. Reports said until 11:00 a.m. over 45 percent turnout was recorded.
According to officials, the voting which started at 7:00 in morning will end at 3:00 p.m. Around 800,000 voters will decide the electoral fortune of 98 candidates in this phase.
Election commission officials said to ensure free and fair polling, Assam Rifles and army have also been deployed for domination of the polling areas and emergency support to the police and paramilitary.
In both states reports said long queues of people including women both young and old were seen waiting to cast their ballots at the designated polling booths since morning.
Uttar Pradesh with a population of 200 million is the most populous state in India. The previous six phases of elections recorded around 60 percent voter turnout in the northern state.
The local elections in Uttar Pradesh is seen as a referendum to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision of demonetization - a step to ban high value currency notes.
Modi's Bhartiya Janta Party is facing tough competition from a regional player - Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an an alliance of regional Samajwadi Party and Congress.
However in Manipur, Congress party's Okram Ibobi Singh, which is ruling the state since 2002, is seeking another term. Singh is the chief minister of the state for past 15 years and in last elections during 2012, he helped his party win the vote for the third time with an absolute majority securing 42 out of the total 60 seats.
In the ongoing elections, BJP is trying hard to unseat Congress.
Known as the "Iron Lady of Manipur," Irom Chanu Sharmila had won worldwide recognition for her persistence in demanding scrapping of a controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The first phase of elections in Manipur recorded 84 percent voting.
Counting of votes, according to India's Election Commission, would be carried out on March 11.