- BJP now has 58 seats in the Rajya Sabha, one more than Congress
- Congress strength in Upper House depleted due to deaths of MPs
- Rajya Sabha elections next week unlikely to affect BJP's lead
The Congress may have remained the largest party till 2018, but its numbers were depleted by the death this year of two lawmakers. Ms Uikey was elected unopposed in a by-election for the Rajya Sabha seat held by union minister Anil Madhav Dave, who died in May this year.
In Bengal, the term of two Congress MPs ends, but the party can win back only one seat, with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress set to send five lawmakers to the Upper House after a mammoth win in assembly elections last year.
A big boost will come next year when the BJP will win eight of nine Uttar Pradesh seats that will be vacated, after sweeping assembly elections in the state this year. Members of the Rajya Sabha are elected by legislators in a state.
The BJP's new partnership with Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United in Bihar is expected to help too, though there has been no announcement yet of an alignment at the Centre. The JDU has 10 lawmakers in the Rajya Sabha.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is also Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, said the BJP becoming the Number 1 party is a "natural consequence of our support base increasing". "We are in power in most states and since the Rajya Sabha is a council of the states, the strength of the BJP has to be reflected," he said. The minister was confident that his party's "base will increase in every election".
The DMK's Kanimozhi said she hopes regional parties and the states' views will be respected. Mr Jaitley has said the government will work with the opposition and will try to ensure that most bills in parliament are passed with consensus and not through a vote.
The government was embarrassed this week when the opposition forced changes in a bill that sought to amend the constitution and so needed the support of two-thirds of the members present. The government was also hit by the absence of about 30 lawmakers of the BJP and allies when the vote was held. The missing BJP lawmakers have been asked to explain their absence in writing to party chief Amit Shah.