"Voting is underway peacefully in both Bangalore Rural and Mandya constituencies," an election commission spokesperson told reporters in Bangalore. Mandya is about 80 km away from Bangalore.

Though polling booths opened at 8 am, voting started late in several places, the spokesperson said. Polling will end at 5 pm and the counting will be done on August 24. The by-polls have been necessitated due to the resignation of Janata Dal-Secular Lok Sabha members HD Kumaraswamy and N Cheluvarayaswamy, after they got elected to the state Assembly in May.

Kumaraswamy held the Bangalore Rural seat while Cheluvarayaswamy represented Mandya. The two constituencies will see direct fight between JDS and the ruling Congress party as the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrew its candidates in support of the former.

Kumaraswamy has fielded his wife Anita Kumaraswamy from Bangalore Rural. Anita is pitted against Congress's DK Suresh, the younger brother of Congress legislator DK Shivakumar. There are 11 independents in the fray in Bangalore Rural.

In Mandya, the battle is between popular Kannada film actress Ramya, who is representing Congress and CS Puttaraju of JD-S. Seven independents are also contesting.

Bangalore Rural has over two million voters and around 9,00,000 of them are women. Mandya has more than 1.6 million voters, nearly half of them women.

(Agencies)

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