J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has issued a show-cause notice to Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad, asking him why the “national party” status given to the RJD should not be withdrawn following its poor performance in last year's Jharkhand Assembly polls.

It is learnt that Mr. Prasad has sought more time to reply to the notice as the last date expired on Monday. The EC is yet to decide on his request.

A party which is recognised as a State party in four or more States would be declared a “national party” provided it continues to fulfil thereafter the condition for recognition in four or more States in the results of any subsequent general election to the Lok Sabha or to the Assembly.

For getting recognition as a State party, the party should be engaged in political activity continuously for five years; and should have at the last general election in that State to the Lok Sabha or, as the case may be to the Assembly, returned either at least one member to the Lok Sabha for every 25 members of that House or any fraction of that number from that State; or at least one member to the Legislative Assembly of that State for every 30 members or any fraction of that number.

The RJD, which was recognised as a “national party” as it had been recognised as a State party in Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur and Nagaland, lost its State party recognition after the Jharkhand poll as it could secure only five of the total 81 Assembly seats. In Bihar it has 54 MLAs (out of 243) and in Manipur three (out of 60). Sources said though the RJD got 5 seats in Jharkhand it could not secure at least six per cent of the total valid votes polled.