Hyderabad: Polling began on a brisk note for the by-election to Medak Lok Sabha seat in Telangana and Nandigama (SC) Assembly seat in Andhra Pradesh at 7 am on Saturday.
By-election is being held in Medak as the Lok Sabha seat was vacated by Telangana Rashtra Samiti chief K Chandrasekhar Rao upon becoming Chief Minister of the newly-formed Telangana state.
As many as 15.43 lakh voters, spread over seven Assembly segments, are eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-poll.
There is a straight fight between businessman K Prabhakar Reddy of TRS and former MLA T Jayaprakash Reddy of BJP, supported by TDP. Former minister V Sunitha Laxma Reddy is the Congress nominee but she may end up as an "also-ran" in the by-election.
The Chief Minister will cast his vote in Chintamadaka village under Siddipet later in the day.
Winning the Medak Lok Sabha seat is critical for the TRS as it is not only a question of personal prestige for KCR but will be seen as an endorsement of his government's actions in the last 100-plus days.
But the BJP is seeking to trounce the TRS saying the new state government failed to keep even a single promise it made on the eve of the general elections in May.
Over 9,000 police personnel have been deployed in Medak to ensure an incident-free election.
Senior IAS officer Rahul Bojja, who is the Returning Officer, is closely monitoring the polling process. In Nandigama, more than 1.80 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes.
TDP fielded Tangirala Sowmya, a software engineer and daughter of late MLA Prabhakar Rao, whose sudden death soon after the election in May led to the by-poll.
Nandigama is a TDP citadel as it won the Assembly seat in consecutive elections since 1994.
Ignoring TDP's request to make it a unanimous election in view of the death of the sitting MLA, Congress, that drew a blank across Andhra Pradesh in the May election, chose to field B Babu Rao while the now principal opposition party in the state, YSR Congress, decided to stay away from the bypoll.
Given the sympathy factor, Sowmya should find the going smooth.
District Collector M Raghunandan Rao and Superintendent of Police Vijay Kumar are supervising the poll process in Nandigama.