A total of 3,073 candidates, from several political parties and independent groups are in the fray for 114 seats in three Provincial Councils – North-Central, Eastern and Sabaragamuwa – to which election will be held today.The North-Central Province will elect 33 members from the 336 candidates contesting from the Anuradhapura District and 208 from the Polonnaruwa District along with five and seven independent groups respectively. There are nine political parties contesting in each district in the NCP. The number of registered voters in the Anuradhapura District is 606,508 and in the Polonnaruwa district 294,365.Thirty-seven members will be elected to the Eastern Provincial Council. There are 476 candidates contesting from the Batticaloa District, 578 from Ampara and 416 from Trincomalee with 21 Independent Groups vying in Batticaloa, 18 in Ampara and 16 in Trincomalee. There are 13 political parties in the fray in Batticaloa and 16 each in the Ampara and Trincomalee districts. The number of registered voters is 347,990 in Batticaloa, 441,287 Ampara and 362,363 in Trincomalee.Forty four members are to be elected to the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council from 513 candidates from 13 political parties and six independent groups in the Ratnapura district and 546 candidates also from 13 political parties in the Kegalle district. The number of registered voters is 769,814 in the Ratnapura district and 631,981 in Kegalle.The Election Commissioner’s Department sources said that there were 3,247 polling stations in the three provinces. In the Eastern Province there were 414 in the Batticaloa district, 464 in Ampara district and 285 in Trincomalee. The North-Central Province has 608 polling stations. Anuradhapura district has 287, Polonnaruwa 311. In the Sabaragamuwa Province, Kegalle has 566 polling stations and district 622.Polling starts at 7 a.m. today and closes at 4 p.m. with 35,000 officials from the Elections Commissioner’s Department deployed for election duty in the three provinces.Police media spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that 21,000 Police personnel would be on special duty under Senior DIG (Elections) Gamini Navaratne, while on the instructions of IGP N. K. Illangakoon, the Special Task Force (STF), under DIG Ranawana, would be on standby with additional police personnel manning check points, road blocks and mobile patrol in and around areas prone to violence.