One of the seats voting on Sunday, Gundlupet in Karnataka's Chamarajnagar district, is tiger territory. It includes parts of the forest region that has the highest number of wild tigers in the world.
The by-polls here have seen the claws come out - one of the instances being BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa's criticism over the fielding of a candidate against the Congress' Gita Mahadev Prasad. She claims he promised not to do so when he came on a condolence visit.
Ms Gita is late minister Mahadev Prasad's wife, whose death made this by-election necessary. Mr Prasad died of natural causes in January. He was a respected politician in the area.
"I was in grief, but I clearly remember him saying that I should be elected and they would not field a candidate against me," she told NDTV.
Her BJP opponent is Mr Yeddyurappa loyalist CS Niranjan Kumar, who is hoping to win the party's first-ever seat in the district. "Why would Mr Yeddyurappa talk about politics in a house of mourning? He has campaigned a lot here on the ground and I am confident about winning," he told NDTV.
For most voters, water in a drought year is a big issue. A voter in Gundlupet town said, "They have to bring water from Kabini river, but they haven't so far". Another man added, "There is no water for livestock. Borewells have to go 1000 feet deep to reach water."