Polling began on a lukewarm note in the bypoll to Tiruchirapalli West Assembly constituency, the first direct face off between arch rivals AIADMK and DMK ahead of next week’s civic polls.

DMK local strongman and former minister K N Nehru and AIADMK former legislator M Paramjothi will be testing their fortunes in a keenly anticipated electoral battle, necessitated due to AIADMK minister Mariam Pitchai’s death in a mishap.

A total of 2,08,427 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, with 1,05,497 women outnumbering men.

Tight security was in place to ensure free and fair polling, with the Election Commission deploying Central Armed Police Force and three Central Observers to keep a hawk-eyed vigil in the key constituency.