Bhubaneswar: The process of filing nomination papers for the ensuing panchayat elections in Odisha began on Wednesday while the major political parties were in the process of finalising their candidates.

"Nomination filing has started on Wednesday. The process will continue till January 17," said Rabindra Nath Sahu, secretary, State Election Commission.

He said scrutiny of the papers will be carried out on January 18 and the candidates can withdraw their nominations till January 21.

The final list of candidates will be published on the same day.

Meanwhile, political parties are on the last leg of finalising the candidates for 852 Zila Parishad zones, elections to which will be fought on party symbols. Other posts like sarpanch and samiti members would not be contested on party symbols.

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While the Congress and BJP have almost finalised their candidates, the ruling BJD was grappling with internal feuds with several leaders lobbying hard to get tickets.

Pradesh Congress Committee President Prasad Harichandan said they have almost finalised their candidates and were in the process of distributing tickets to them.

State BJP president Basant Panda said they have finalised candidates in 90 per cent Zila Parishad zones and the remaining candidates would be finalised within a day or two.

BJD vice-president Suryanarayan Patro said BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scrutinising the candidate lists and tickets would be distributed soon.