The 543 Lok Sabha seats in the country are up for grabs by over 1000 political parties in the coming general elections.
Since the last Lok Sabha polls in 2004, the number of political parties has gone up considerably with the Election Commission listing names of 1,027 parties.
Most of the additions has been among the registered unrecognised parties. While the number of such parties was 173 in 2004, it has gone up to 980 this year, according to the EC list.
There has also been an increase of four state parties and one national party. The number of state parties was 36 in 2004 which rose to 40 this year, while Rashtriya Janata Dal has got the status of a national party.
The national parties at present are BJP, BSP, Congress, CPI, CPM, NCP and RJD, the EC said.
As per the EC norms, a party should be recognised as a national party if its candidates in any four or more states in the last general or assembly elections have secured not less than six per cent of the total valid votes polled in each of the respective states.
According to the EC, the other condition to be in the national party category is that the party should have won at least two per cent of the total number of seats, any fraction exceeding half being counted as one during the last general elections to the House of the People.
Moreover, the party's candidates should have been elected to the House from not less than three states.
Similarly, a party should be recognised as a state party if its candidates in the general or assembly elections in the state have secured not less than six per cent of the total valid votes polled.
The other parties, which cannot fulfil the norms, come under the category of registered unrecognised parties.
Candidates, who will not be fielded by these parties, will contest elections as independents.