Voting began on Sunday for Bastar Lok Sabha constituency by-poll at 8am amid sporadic firing by Maoists in the interiors areas to scare away the voters, police said.
Reports said that voters were seen queuing up at polling booths in urban areas right from start of the scheduled time. But in forested interiors, the booths wore a deserted look, largely because of the rebels who have vowed to disrupt the polling.
Bastar is one of the worst Maoist-hit constituencies of the country. The rebels have a strong presence in about 80% of the forested region.
Polling is underway at 1,716 polling stations amid tight security arrangements. About 11.94 lakh voters can exercise their franchise to decide the fate of eight candidates. The main contest, however, is between the (BJP) and the Congress. The state's ruling BJP has been winning the tribal reserved seat since last four times.
The by-poll was necessitated because of the death of BJP's tribal leader and MP Baliram Kashyap in March. The BJP has fielded late Kashyap's son - Dinesh Kashyap - as the party nominee, while the Congress has bet on Kawasi Lakhma, the legislator of Konta seat, which is one of the eight assembly segments that make up the Bastar parliamentary constituency.