Voting is being held for the bypoll to Palair Assembly constituency in the Khammam district of Telangana, amid tight security arrangements.
The polling began at 7 AM and will continue till 6 PM. Thirteen candidates including nine Independents are in the contest which is being held after Congress MLA from the constituency Ramreddy Venkat Reddy passed away in March.
The contest is expected to be a triangular one between ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Congress and CPI(M).
TRS has fielded State Roads and Buildings Minister Tummala Nageswara Rao while the opposition Congress has named Venkat Reddy’s wife Sucharita Reddy as its candidate.
TDP and YSR Congress, which are not contesting the polls, are supporting the deceased MLA’s wife. The BJP is not contesting either.
The ruling TRS has tried to woo voters on the “developmental work” it plans to undertake in the constituency if elected, while Congress has tried to “encash”
the sympathy wave due to the sudden death of Venkat Reddy. The CPI(M) has fielded P Sudarshan Rao for the seat.
“The district administration has made all necessary arrangements for smooth conduct of the bypolls,” Khammam district Collector Dana Kishore said.
As many as 41 flying squads are monitoring activities to ensure enforcement of the model code of conduct, according to officials.
Apart from central paramilitary forces, police personnel from the state have been deployed as part of the security arrangements, they said.
There are 243 polling stations in the constituency, and 1,90,351 eligible voters.
Results will be declared on May 19.