Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot (centre) before voting in the Rajya Sabha election.
The ruling Congress won two of three Rajya Sabha seats up for voting in Rajasthan while the BJP won the third on Friday. The score was flipped in Madhya Pradesh where the ruling BJP won two and Congress won one. The outcome for the closely-watched contest in Gujarat is still awaited.
KC Venugopal and Neeraj Dangi of the Congress and Rajendra Gehlot of the BJP were elected to the upper house from Rajasthan without any cross-voting.
In Madhya Pradesh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sumer Singh Solanki were elected on BJP tickets while Digvijaya Singh won from the Congress.
The build-up to the elections, in which 24 seats from 10 states were at stake, was marked by a resurgence of resort politics, resignations, switching sides and allegations of bribery.
Elections were held on four seats each from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, three each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, two from Jharkhand and one each from the northeastern states of Meghalaya and Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. The voting began at 9 am. The toughest fight was over one seat in Gujarat, one in Rajasthan, and one in Madhya Pradesh.
In two states, Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Congress whisked away its flock, accusing the BJP of attempts to buy its MLAs.
The drama was more elaborate in Gujarat, where the BJP had fought a pitched battle to grab the seat of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel three years ago, and narrowly missed. A comfortable majority in the Rajya Sabha is crucial for the BJP to pilot bills through the upper house. The NDA needs around 30 more seats to have majority in the upper house.
The Election Commission made elaborate arrangements for the voting in view of the pandemic. Every MLA was screened for body temperature and while sticking to safety measures like wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing. Legislators having a fever or showing other symptoms were kept in a separate waiting room.
Before Friday's voting, the NDA had 91 of the 245 Rajya Sabha seats, the Congress-led UPA had 61. The other opposition and the non-aligned parties together had 68 seats. The key candidates in today's election included Shakti Singh Gohil and Bharat Singh Solanki from Gujarat, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Digvijaya Singh from Madhya Pradesh and KC Venugopal from Rajasthan.