Voting is underway for the by-polls in three constituencies of Sikkim. Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang is among a number of candidates whose fate will be decided in the bypolls.
Tamang is contesting from the Poklok Kamrang constituency in a bid to become a member of the state assembly, as required to remain in the post of Chief Minister.
In an unprecedented move last month, the Election Commission had removed a ban on his candidature brought about by his conviction in a corruption case.
The removal of the ban followed a pre-poll alliance between his Sikkim Krantikari Morcha and the BJP, which is trying to make inroads into the Himalayan state.
Besides Poklok Kamrang, bypolls will also be held in the Sikkim state assembly seats of Martam Rumtek and Gangtok.
Each constituency has six contestants fighting for electoral victory. Former Indian football team captain Bhaichung Bhutia, founder-president of the Hamro Sikkim Party, is among those contesting from Gangtok.
The Sikkim bypolls were necessitated after former Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling of the Sikkim Democratic Front and legislators DT Lepcha of the BJP and Kunga Nima Lepcha of SKM vacated the Poklok Kamrang, Martam Rumtek and Gangtok constituencies respectively after winning from two seats each.