TMC, CPI, NCP urge EC to retain national party status
Representatives of the three parties also said in 2016, the poll panel had amended its rules, whereby national and state party status of political parties are to be reviewed every 10 years instead of five.
Three political parties — the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — on Monday urged the Election Commission to allow them to retain their national party status, pointing out that they should be given a chance to improve their electoral performance in the upcoming assembly elections in as many as four states .
Assembly elections are due in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Haryana later this year while Delhi will go to polls in January next year. Representatives of the three parties also said in 2016, the poll panel had amended its rules, whereby national and state party status of political parties are to be reviewed every 10 years instead of five.
The parties were responding to the poll panel’s notice on why their national party status should not be revoked following their performance in the last general elections and state elections. Following the submissions, the EC has decided to call the parties for a second round of deliberation later and agreed to maintain status quo till a decision is taken, said a party functionary with knowledge of the developments.
At the hearing conducted by the poll panel which was attended by chief election commissioner Sunil Arora and election commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra; representatives of the parties pointed out that the 2016 amendment had allowed Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the NCP and the CPI to retain their national party status. According to the rules, to qualify as a national party, political parties ought to have 6% of valid votes in the assembly elections in four states and four seats in the Lok Sabha or 2% of Lok Sabha seats (11 MPs) from 3 or more states or should be a state party in 4 states.
CPI general secretary D Raja, who attended the meeting, said: “We are among the oldest parties in India. We were at the forefront of the freedom movement and we were also the principal opposition party in Parliament after Independence. We have requested the Election Commission to allow us to retain our national party status till the next round of elections is conducted.”
Similar submissions were made by TMC’s Kalyan Bannerjee and Majid Memon of the NCP. “In 2016, EC itself had amended its rules to review a political party’s status after two elections. Even if we take 2014 polls into account, EC should wait till 2024 before reviewing our national party status.” said Bannerjee.
Memon said his party also urged the EC not to change the status quo ahead of assembly polls in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana, which will be announced soon. “It is not the correct time to reassess status of any political party,” he said.
Barring Kerala, CPI ’s performance in elections in Tamil Nadu, Manipur and West Bengal did not make it eligible for a national party; NCP also failed to meet the eligibility criteria of 6% vote share in the last assembly elections. TMC’s review was based on the party’s performance in polls in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Assam.