The Election Commission has recognised Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena as a State party in Maharashtra and will allot a permanent election symbol of the party’s choice.

The Commission also recognised the All-India Trinamool Congress (AITC), led by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, as a State party in Arunachal Pradesh. It is already a recognised party in West Bengal. It will be allowed to use its symbol of ‘Jora Ghas Phul’ in Arunachal Pradesh too.

The recognition comes in the wake of both the parties having complied with the conditions stipulated under the amended Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, after the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh. A formal communication will be sent to them, sources said.

The MNS will be asked to choose from among the existing free symbols or design a new one.

Under Section 6B of the Symbols Order, a political party, other than a national party, could get recognition as a State party in a State or States, if, and only if — (A)(i) the candidates put up by it, at the last general election to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly, have secured not less than six per cent of the total valid votes polled in that State at that general election; and (ii) in addition, it has returned at least two members to the Assembly at the last general election to that Assembly; or (B) it wins at least three per cent of the total number of seats in the Assembly (any fraction exceeding one-half being counted as one), or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.

In the Assembly elections, the MNS, which Mr. Raj Thackeray formed on March 9, 2006 after breaking with his uncle Bal Thackerary’s Shiv Sena, won 13 out of the 143 seats it contested. In Mumbai city alone, it won six seats. The party contested on a common symbol (rail engine) it obtained after going to the Supreme Court.

The Trinamool Congress won five seats in the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly and emerged as the second largest party, along with the NCP.

At present, the AITC is recognised as a State party only in West Bengal, according to its Hooghly MP Ratna De.