Rejecting the demands from certain quarters to de-recognise the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) for allegedly promoting “casteism and hatred among various communities”, the Election Commission has made it clear that it had no such powers or provisions to do the same on this charge during the non-election time, even if the allegation is true.

“Of course, during poll, when the model code of conduct is in force, the Commission, based on the evidences, can issue notice and seek explanation if any such complaint is received. It can even withdraw the recognition if any party fails to fall in line with the directions of the Commission and continue to violate MCC provisions”, said an official on condition of anonymity.

A political party’s recognition could be withdrawn during the non-poll time – under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) order, 1968 – only on other issues like not getting a certain percentage of votes/certain number of MLAs, MPs during general elections to the Legislative Assembly/Lok Sabha, and failing to abide by the lawful directions of the Commission. Even not upholding democracy in the party set up or failure to file the mandatory accounts/expenditure of the organisation could also attract de-recognition after the Commission issues notice and not satisfied with the reply.

The official pointed out that the Commission had very little role to play with regard to the allegations like “promoting enmity between communities, castes” vis-a-vis demand for withdrawing recognition of political parties. “It is for the other enforcement agencies to pursue such complaints,” he said.

Withdrawal of recognition to a political party mean that the party will not be invited for the meeting of the representatives of the recognised political parties, convened by the Commission, withdrawing its allotted poll symbol, and such party cannot enjoy other privileges and facilities given by the Commission to the recognised parties.

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