Election Commission likely to issue new list of national, state parties
A national party status gives advantages, such as a common party symbol, free airtime during elections on public channel, space for a party office in New Delhi.
The Election Commission is likely to announce a fresh list of recognised national and state parties ahead of the 2024 general elections, people aware of the matter have said, while adding that derecognised parties will be allowed to retain their symbols as per rules.
Following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the poll panel had issued notices to several political parties, including the Communist Party of India (CPI), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Trinamool Congress (TMC), asking them to explain why their national party status should continue. The poll body, however, put on hold its plans to scrap their status.
“The Commission is undertaking the review of the parties,” one of the people said on the condition of anonymity. “This is a regular process. It began after the general elections in 2019 and was paused due to Covid,” the person added.
A national party status gives a number of advantages, such as a common party symbol across states, free airtime during elections on public broadcasters, space for a party office in New Delhi, among others.
The process was restarted last month. The Commission has already heard from NCP, CPI, TMC and nearly eight state parties regarding the same, the person quoted above added.
The person quoted above said that parties can retain their symbols for some time even if they are derecognised.
Section 10(A) of the symbols order provides concession to candidates set up by an unrecognised party which was earlier recognised as a national or a state party. “If a political party, which is unrecognised at present but was a recognised national or state party in any state or union territory not earlier than six years from the date of notification of the election, sets up a candidate at an election in a constituency in any state or union territory, whether such party was earlier recognised in that state or Union territory or not, then such candidate may, to the exclusion of all other candidates in the constituency, be allotted the symbol reserved earlier for that party when it was a recognised national or state party, notwithstanding that such symbol is not specified in the list of free symbols for such state or union territory,” states the Election symbols (reservation and allotment) order, 1968, which is also referred to as the symbols order.
According to the symbols order, a political party can be recognised as a national party if it fulfils any of the following conditions: First, it should secure at least 6% of votes polled in four or more states in Lok Sabha or assembly elections, and, in addition, have at least four members in the Lok Sabha. Second, it has at least 2% of the total Lok Sabha seats and its candidates come from not less than three states. Third, it is recognised as a state party in at least four states.
Currently, there are eight national parties registered with EC: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, TMC, BSP, CPI, Communist Party of India (Marxist), NCP and the National People’s Party (NPP). Aam Aadmi Party’s national status is under review.