Voting for the bypolls to the three Lok Sabha and two assembly constituencies in Karnataka began at 7 am and is expected to go on till 6 pm.
The results are expected on 6th and it is seen as a litmus test for the ruling Congress-JDS coalition.
The bypolls are being held for Shivamogga, Mandya, and Ramanagara LokSabha seats, and Ballari and Jamkhandi assembly segments.
There are a total 31 candidates in the fray in all the five constituencies, though the contest is mainly between the Congress-JDS combine and the BJP.
More than 35,000 polling personnel are on duty for the bypolls, in which 8,922 voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines will be used, they added.
The Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular), who came together in a post-poll alliance after the assembly elections in May threw up a hung House, have decided to fight the polls unitedly against the BJP.
While the Congress has fielded its candidates in Jamkhandi and Ballari, the JDS is contesting in Shivamogga, Ramanagara and Mandya under an electoral understanding.
The BJP, which has been questioning the longevity of the coalition government, has predicted its fall once the bypoll results are out.
Among the prominent candidates in the fray is Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's wife, Anita Kumaraswamy, who is expected to have a smooth sail in Ramanagara after BJP nominee L Chandrashekhar withdrew from the contest and rejoined the Congress.
In Jamkhandi, Congress candidate AnandNyamagowda, son of former MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, is pitted against Srikant Kulkarni of the BJP.
In Shivamogga, state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa's son, B Y Raghavendra, is testing his fortunes against another former chief minister S Bangarappa's son, Madhu Bangarappa, of the JDS.
In Ballari, BJP leader Sriramulu's sister, J Shantha, is fighting against V S Ugrappa of the Congress, considered an outsider.
In the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya, JDS' Shivarame Gowda, is pitted against a fresh face in Dr Siddaramaiah, a retired Commercial Tax officer from the BJP.
The announcement of the bypolls for the LokSabha seats came as a surprise to all the three major political parties in the state -- Congress, BJP and JD(S) -- who questioned the need for the exercise when the general elections are due early next year.
The by-elections have been necessitated after Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga) and Sriramalu (Ballari), and CS Puttaraju of the JDS (Mandya) resigned as MPs on their election to the assembly in May this year.
Bypolls to Jamkhandi assembly seat was caused by the death of Congress MLA SidduNyamagouda, while Ramanagara fell vacant after Kumaraswamy gave up the seat preferring Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had won.
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