Voting started in fifteen assembly constituencies in Karnataka on Thursday, the results of which would determine the fate of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government in the state.
The polling that began at 7 am is scheduled to conclude at 6 pm, the results of which will be declared on December 9.
The by-elections are being held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose rebellion led to the collapse of the H D Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July and paved the way for the BJP to come to power.
The BJP needs to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in majority in the 225-member assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote), which would still have two vacant seats, Maski and R R Nagar.
In the assembly with the current strength of 208 after the disqualifications, the BJP has 105 MLAs (including an independent), the Congress 66 and the JD(S) has 34 MLAs.
There is also one BSP member, a nominated member and the Speaker.
A total number of 165 candidates are in the fray for bypolls from all the fifteen constituencies, of which 156 are men and 9 are women.
The Election Commission and police have made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the bypolls in all the 15 constituencies.
Out of total 42,509 personnel deployed for election management, 19,299 are polling personnel.
As many as 11,241 personnel from state police and 2,511 Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed on security duty.Polling officials said 884 polling stations have been marked critical and 414 stations will be manned by CAPF.