The Election Commission is likely to issue a letter to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) this week recognising it as a “State Party” in view of the party fulfilling the eligibility conditions set by the EC for granting such honour.
Informed sources said the letter would be despatched once the Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, who is currently in the United States on tour, returns to Delhi on December 18.
AAP won 28 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly securing about 30 per cent votes. To get the EC’s recognition as a “State Party”, all the candidates set up by the party together should get a minimum of eight per cent of the valid votes polled in the entire State or secure a minimum of six per cent of the total votes polled and one Assembly seat for every 25 seats in that State.
The AAP, which was allotted “broomstick” as the election symbol by the Commission from among the common symbols following a request in this regard from AAP, will now have the choice of retaining “broomstick” as its permanent election symbol or it can design its own poll symbol provided it fits within the rules and regulations of the Commission. That concession of choosing a common symbol for all the AAP candidates in Delhi was given by the Commission as a one time gesture.
EC recognition will entail the parties to participate in the all-party meetings convened by the EC/the State/Central governments, get a permanent common symbol for all their contestants, privilege to address the voters through the All India Radio and Doordarshan during poll.
Recognised ‘State’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost.
Mr. Kejriwal, a former Indian Revenue Service officer-turned-politician, launched AAP on November 26 last year.
Meanwhile, informed sources said irrespective of whether the newly elected MLAs of Delhi take oath as members of the Assembly or not, they are eligible to get salaries from the date the fifth Assembly is constituted. Roughly their salary and allowances works out to be around Rs. one lakh per month.
This is exclusive of Rs.1,500 per day (subject to a maximum of 40 days), which they are entitled to get as daily allowance, for attending Assembly proceedings/committee meetings.
As the House cannot be convened without the government (the Lt. Governor convenes it based on the cabinet’s recommendation), this allowance - per day allowance - will not be given to the newly elected legislators. However, if the House is dissolved without having any government, the present MLAs, most of whom are first timers, are even eligible for a minimum pension of Rs.7,500 per month. Even their families are eligible for family pension.
In case the House is kept under “suspended animation”, the legislators will continue to get their salaries, allowances, residence/medical facilities etc. as long as the Assembly is alive.