Voting for the 16 vacant seats of the Rajya Sabha in Rajasthan, Haryana, Karnataka and Maharashtra began at 9 am on Friday, The Indian Express reported. Polling will be held till 4 pm and the counting of votes will start at 5 pm.

Fifty-seven seats in the Upper House across 15 states will fall vacant between June 21 and August 1. However, 41 candidates in 11 states have won unopposed.

Among those who have been declared winners, 14 are from the BJP, four each are from the Congress and the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party and three each from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Biju Janata Dal.

Two candidates each from the Aam Aadmi Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, one each from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal have also been elected. One of them is an Independent candidate.

Among senior leaders whose Rajya Sabha terms will end by August 1 are Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Piyush Goyal and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s TKS Elangovan.

Apprehensions of cross-voting in Rajasthan, Haryana

A tight contest is expected in Rajasthan and Haryana, where the ruling Congress and the BJP have gathered their MLAs in resorts to prevent poaching.

In Rajasthan, polls are being held to fill four Rajya Sabha seats. On Thursday, Jaipur Divisional Commissioner Vikas Sitaramji Bhale ordered suspension of internet in the Amer area for 17 hours till Friday noon in a bid to prevent MLAs from talking to the opposite side, The Indian Express reported. This was the first time such a move was taken.

Congress has fielded three candidates – Randeep Singh Surjewala, Mukul Wasnik and Pramod Tiwari. The BJP has nominated party leader Ghanshyam Tiwari and is also backing industrialist Subhash Chandra, an Independent contender.

Leader of Opposition Gulab Chand Kataria said one BJP MLA has cross-voted, which could make it difficult for Chandra to win, PTI reported. “The party will take action for violating the whip,” he told reporters.

The Congress, which has 108 MLAs in the Rajasthan Assembly, has enough numerical strength to send two candidates to the Rajya Sabha but need 15 more votes to win the third seat. It claims to have the support of 18 MLAs.

Likewise, the BJP, which has 71 MLAs in the House, is assured of one seat but needs the support of 11 more MLAs to secure the second seat.

On Thursday, a plea was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the declaration of the results of the Rajya Sabha, according to Live Law.

The plea, filed by advocate Hemant Sharma, had questioned the decision of six Bahujan Samaj Party MLAs who had said that they have sided with the Congress for the Rajya Sabha polls.

In Haryana, three candidates are in the fray for two seats from the state.

While the BJP has nominated five-time MLA Krishan Panwar as its candidate, the Congress has fielded senior leader Ajay Maken. One Independent candidate Kartikeya Sharma is also contesting.

While Panwar is set to comfortably win the polls with 31 clear votes in his favour, the key contest is for the second seat between Maken and Sharma, for which either of the two needs 30 votes, according to The Indian Express.

Although the Congress has 31 MLAs in the Assembly, the party is expecting cross-voting, according to the newspaper.

Tough fight in Karnataka, Maharashtra

In Maharashtra and Karnataka, voting is being held to fill six and four Rajya Sabha seats respectively.

There are seven candidates in the fray for six seats in Maharashtra. The BJP has nominated three candidates in the state – Union minister Piyush Goyal, Anil Bonde and Dhananjay Mahadik. From the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut and Sanjay Pawar; National Congress Party’s Praful Patel and Congress’ Imran Pratapgarhi are contesting.

A close contest is expected between the state’s ruling Shiv Sena and the opposition BJP for the sixth seat.

On Thursday, a special court had also refused to grant temporary bail to jailed NCP leaders Nawab Malik and Anil Deshmukh to vote in the Rajya Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, six candidates are in the fray for four Rajya Sabha seats.

The Congress has nominated senior leader Jairam Ramesh and Mansoor Ali Khan. The BJP has nominated Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, actor Jaggesh, and Karnataka MLC Lahar Singh Siroya. The Janata Dal (Secular) has fielded real estate baron D Kupendra Reddy candidate.

While the ruling BJP is set to win two of the four seats, the Congress has the numbers to win one seat, according to The Times of India. None of the parties have the adequate numbers to win the fourth seat.