Explained | The rules for recognition as national and State party

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained | The rules for recognition as national and State party” published in The Hindu on 14th April 2023.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Indian Polity

Relevance: Criteria for recognition as a national and state party

News: The Election Commission has recognised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a national party, while revoking that status of the All-India Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).

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.

The Symbols Order of 1968 was amended in 2016 to give parties one additional “pass over”.

As per the amendment, 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.

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 recognized as a national party?

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How was AAP recognized as a national party?

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Why did Trinamool, NCP and CPI lose its national party status?

Trinamool Congress: It gained national party status in 2016 with the help of “pass over” amendment to the Symbols Act.

However, the party did not remain a state party in the required four States. It lost its status in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, while continuing to hold recognition in West Bengal, Tripura, and Meghalaya.

NCP: It lost its recognition in three States (Goa, Manipur, and Meghalaya) where it did not secure enough assembly votes between 2017 and 2018. It is currently a state party in only two States, Maharashtra and Nagaland.

CPI: In Assembly elections and one Lok Sabha election between 2016 and 2019, the party could only retain State recognition in three States, i.e., Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Manipur but lost it in Odisha and West Bengal.

What are the criteria to be recognised as a state party?

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What are the benefits of recognition as National and State parties?

A recognised political party enjoys privileges like 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.

However, candidates of unrecognized party are allotted election symbols by the Returning Officers of the concerned constituencies after the last date for withdrawal of candidature and as per availability.

Thus, an unrecognized party cannot use a single poll symbol across the country.

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