In a major electoral setback for the BJP in one of its most significant bastions, the candidate for the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition on Thursday defeated the party's contender in polls to a Maharashtra Legislative Council seat in Nagpur.
What makes the results a huge blow for the BJP is that the constituency houses the headquarters of its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and is the home turf of prominent leaders like Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
A key contest in the state after Shiv Sena dissident Eknath Shinde displaced Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, siding with the BJP in June, the election saw the MVA's Sudhakar Adbale win the Nagpur teachers' seat, defeating the BJP-backed Nago Ganar, officials said.
The biennial elections to the upper house of the state legislature were mainly between the ruling tie-up of the BJP and Mr Shinde's Shiv Sena faction and candidates backed by the MVA comprising Mr Thackeray's Shiv Sena camp, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The 6-year term of five council members - three from teachers and two from graduates constituencies - is expiring on February 7 and polling was held on Monday to fill up the upcoming vacancies.
Teachers and graduates fulfilling certain criteria and enrolled as voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in these elections.
The Konkan teachers' constituency recorded the highest voter turnout at 91.02 per cent, while the Nashik division graduates seat logged the lowest polling at 49.28 per cent.
The teachers' constituencies of Aurangabad, Nagpur and Konkan divisions recorded 86 per cent, 86.23 per cent and 91.02 per cent voting, respectively.
Besides Nagpur, another closely watched fight was in the Nashik division graduates seat, where the Congress saw a rebellion in its ranks in the run-up to the polls.
Three-time council member Sudhir Tambe was the official Congress candidate for the seat, but he did not file his nomination papers.
As he opted out of the contest, his son Satyajeet Tambe decided to fight as an independent. The Congress later suspended both. Satyajeet Tambde is currently leading in the polls, officials said.