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Rules For Recognition As A National Party

Context:

Ahead of the upcoming Karnataka Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) received a shot in the arm from the Election Commission of India, as the poll body accorded it 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.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. How does a party get recognized as a national party?
  2. Criteria for recognition as a State party:
  3. Benefits of recognition as national and State parties:

How does a party get recognized 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.
  • Rules for recognition as a national party are specified in para 6B of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
  • A party can become eligible to be accorded national status if it fulfils any one of the following conditions:
    • Recognized as a State party in at least four States.
    • Secures 6% of the total votes polled in four States in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, and gets four of its members elected to the Lok Sabha.
    • Wins 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three States.
  • The Symbols Order of 1968 was amended in 2016 to give parties one additional “pass over” to continue as a national or State party even if they fail to fulfil the eligibility criteria in the next election.
  • The Trinamool Congress lost its national status due to non-fulfilment of eligibility criteria, while the AAP gained national status after recognition as a State party in four states.
  • The NCP lost recognition in three states where it did not secure enough assembly votes between 2017 and 2018.
  • The CPI retained its national status despite its performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, courtesy the amendment to the Symbols Act.

Criteria for recognition as a State party:

  • Securing at least 6% of the valid votes polled and two seats in Assembly polls or one in Lok Sabha polls.
  • Winning 3% of the seats in the legislative assembly of the State (subject to a minimum of 3 seats) at General Elections or Legislative Assembly elections.
  • Winning one Lok Sabha seat for every 25 Lok Sabha seats allotted for the State at a Lok Sabha General Elections.
  • Polling 8% of votes in a State at a General Election to the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly.

Benefits of recognition as national and State parties:

National parties:

  • Reserved party symbol
  • Free broadcast time on State-run television and radio
  • Consultation in setting of election dates
  • Input in setting electoral rules and regulations

State parties:

  • Reserved party symbol
  • Free broadcast time on State-run television and radio
  • Consultation in setting of election dates (in their respective states)
  • Input in setting electoral rules and regulations (in their respective states)

Candidates put up by registered but unrecognised political parties:

  • Not eligible for reserved party symbol
  • Election symbols allotted by Returning Officers of constituencies after last date for withdrawal of candidature as per availability.

-Source: The Hindu


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