Why in news? the Election Commission of India, accorded Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) with the status of a national party. Meanwhile, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Communist Party of India (CPI), and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) lost their national party status. The EC also revoked the recognition of some parties as State parties.
How does a party get recognised as a national party?
- The Election Commission reviews the poll performance of recognised parties after every State Assembly election or general election to the Lok Sabha.
- The rules for recognition as a national party are specified by the Commission in para 6B of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
- A party becomes eligible to be accorded national status if it manages to fulfil one of the following conditions:
(a) if it is recognised as a State party in at least four States
(b) if it secures 6% of the total votes polled in four States in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, and in addition, gets four of its members elected to the Lok Sabha, or
(c) if it wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three States.
- Besides this, the Symbols Order of 1968 was amended in 2016 to give parties one additional “pass over”.
- As per this amendment, deemed to have been in force since January 1, 2014, if a national or State party fails to fulfil the eligibility criteria in the next general elections or the Assembly election after the election in which it received recognition, it will continue to be recognised as a national or State party, meaning it will not be stripped of its status. However, whether it will continue to be recognised after any subsequent election would again have to be determined by the eligibility criteria.
What are the criteria to be recognised as a State party?
- For recognition as a State party, it has to secure at least 6% of the valid votes polled and two seats in Assembly polls or one in Lok Sabha polls.
- There are three other alternatives for eligibility:
(a) at General Elections or Legislative Assembly elections, the party has to win 3% of the seats in the legislative assembly of the State (subject to a minimum of 3 seats)
(b) at a Lok Sabha General Elections, the party has to win one Lok Sabha seat for every 25 Lok Sabha seats allotted for the State, or
(c) at a General Election to the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly, the party has to poll 8% of votes in a State.
What are the benefits of recognition as national and State parties?
- A recognised political party enjoys privileges such as a reserved party symbol, free broadcast time on State-run television and radio, consultation in the setting of election dates, and giving input in setting electoral rules and regulations.
- Candidates put up by registered but unrecognised political parties are allotted election symbols by the Returning Officers of the constituencies after the last date for withdrawal of candidature as per availability. Thus, the party cannot use a single poll symbol across the country.