Polling began today in the 386 polling stations spread across the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar islands to elect the lone Lok Sabha member amid palpable enthusiasm among voters.
An estimated 2,57,856 electorate will choose from the 15 contestants, five of them independents.
The Bengali votes in North and Middle Andamans along with Tamil in South Andamans and Nicobarese in the Nicobar group of islands hold the key to the battle in the multi-cultural island.
Voters headed to the booths as polling began at 7 am.
The poll battle is practically a straight contest between the Congress, which won the seat continuously until 2004 with the exception of 1999, and the BJP though there are national level parties like the NCP, BSP, CPI-M, SP and TMC in the contest.
Congress has fielded Kuldeep Rai Sharma while Bishnu Pada Ray, the sitting MP, is the BJP nominee.
The main issue in the election is the removal of the buffer zone set up in the 'Jarawa Tribal Reserve area', where commercial activity is banned.