Polling began on a dull note and amid tight security in the by-elections to 12 assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh's Telangana region on Tuesday.
About 10 per cent polling was recorded in the first half-an-hour, officials at the Chief Electoral Office here said.
The polling began at 7 am at 2,783 polling stations in the constituencies spread over five districts.
Ballot papers were being used in five constituencies where the number of candidates exceeded 64 while in the remaining seven segments Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) have been deployed.
About 23.60 lakh voters, nearly half of them women, are eligible to cast their votes in the by-elections caused by the resignations of all 10 legislators of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) and one each of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on the issue of separate Telangana state early this year.
As many as 435 candidates are in the fray for the by-elections, which are being seen as a referendum on the issue of separate Telangana state.
According to state's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) IV Subba Rao, about 68,000 security personnel were deployed to maintain law and order. Around 15,000 polling personnel were also on duty.
Polling was delayed in some polling centres due to non-functioning of EVMs. The slush in and around some centres due to incessant rains of over last three days caused inconvenience to voters, especially in Adilabad district.
State Congress chief D Srinivas and former minister Mohammed Ali Shabbir are among key candidates from the ruling Congress party. TRS has again fielded all its former legislators and left one seat for the BJP.
TRS candidates include party chief K Chandrasekhara Rao's son K Tarakarama Rao, nephew T Harish Rao and party's former leader in assembly E Rajender.