Despite the allotment of bungalows being cancelled years ago, many recognised national and state parties continue their unauthorised occupation of the properties given to them. This was revealed by the official records obtained under Right to Information.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- What are national parties entitled to?
- National Party vs. Regional Party
- Advantages of Being Recognized as a National Party
- Recognized national and state political parties have the privilege of obtaining land for their office construction at reduced rates.
- According to a 2006 policy established by the Union government’s Land and Development Office (L&DO), these parties must vacate any government bungalows used as offices within three years of receiving the land or upon completing their new office building, whichever occurs first.
What are national parties entitled to?
National parties in India are entitled to certain benefits and privileges, which include:
- Reserved Election Symbols: National parties have election symbols reserved for their candidates across the country. This ensures that their candidates can use these symbols for better recognition and branding during elections.
- Land Allotment for Party Office: National parties recognized by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and state parties with at least seven Members of Parliament (MPs) in total in both Houses of Parliament are considered for the allotment of land in Delhi for constructing their party offices. This land is provided at subsidized rates.
- Plot Size Based on Strength: The size of the allotted plot depends on the party’s strength in both Houses of Parliament. It starts with 500 square meters for parties with up to 15 MPs and can go up to 4 acres for parties with over 201 MPs.
- Vacating Government Bungalows: Parties that receive land allotment for office construction are required to vacate any government bungalows they may be occupying. This should be done either upon the completion of the office building or within three years of the land allotment, whichever comes earlier.
- Usage for Office Purpose: The premises allotted to political parties are to be used exclusively for office purposes and not for residential or commercial use.
- Utilization for National Units and Wings: Parties are expected to use the constructed buildings for their national units as well as any other wings or organizations associated with the party.
National Party vs. Regional Party
- A national party is one expected to have a presence throughout the nation.
- In contrast, regional parties confine their influence to specific states or regions.
- The name implies broader reach but not necessarily significant national political influence.
- Some national parties may lack substantial national clout.
- Not all national parties are equally influential on the national stage.
- Regional parties can hold dominant positions within a particular state or region.
- They might play crucial roles in state politics despite being categorized as regional.
- DMK in Tamil Nadu.
- BJD in Odisha.
- YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh.
- RJD in Bihar.
- TRS in Telangana.
Criteria for National Party/State Party
- The ECI has laid down the technical criterion for a party to be recognised as a national party.
- A party may gain or lose national party status from time to time, depending on the fulfilment of these laid-down conditions.
As per the ECI’s Political Parties and Election Symbols, 2019 handbook, a political party would be considered a national party if:
- it is recognised as state party in four or more states; or
- if its candidates polled at least 6% of total valid votes in any four or more states in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections and has at least four MPs in the last Lok Sabha polls; or
- if it has won at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from not less than three states.
To be recognised as a state party, a party needs:
- at least 6% valid vote-share in the last Assembly election and have at least 2 MLAs; or have 6% valid vote-share in the last Lok Sabha elections from that state and at least one MP from that state; or
- at least 3% of the total number of seats or three seats, whichever is more, in the last Assembly elections; or
- at least one MP for every 25 members or any fraction allotted to the state in the Lok Sabha; or
- have at least 8% of the total valid votes in the last Assembly election or Lok Sabha election from the state.
Advantages of Being Recognized as a National Party
- Exclusive Election Symbols:
- National parties have election symbols reserved for their candidates nationwide.
- This ensures consistency and recognition for their candidates on a national scale.
- Party Office in Delhi:
- Recognized national parties are eligible to obtain land in Delhi for constructing a party office.
- This central location can serve as a hub for national-level political activities.
- Increased Star Campaigners:
- They can have up to 40 star campaigners, as opposed to the 20 allowed for registered but not recognized parties.
- Star campaigners are influential figures who campaign for the party during elections, enhancing its visibility.
- Exemption from Spending Limit:
- Expenditure on campaigns and travel by star campaigners does not count towards the candidate’s spending limit.
- This allows for more extensive campaigning efforts.
- Broadcast/Telecast Facilities:
- Recognized national parties are granted broadcast and telecast facilities on Akashvani (All India Radio) and Doordarshan (national television) during general elections.
- This provides a platform for reaching a wide audience.
- Nomination Process Simplification:
- Only one proposer is required for filing nominations by recognized state and national parties.
- This streamlines the nomination process for their candidates.
-Source: Indian Express