The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday told the Karnataka High Court that it will decide on the Aam Aadmi Party’s application for the grant of ‘national party’ status before April 13, when the gazette notification of the Karnataka Assembly polls will be issued.
A Bench of Justice M. Nagaprasanna disposed of a petition by AAP saying it was the responsibility of the Commission to independently assess the representation and take a decision.
Application in 2022
In its plea to the High Court, AAP had alleged that EC had kept its representation for recognition as a national party ‘under review’. The party said it had filed an application for the grant of national party status in December 2022.
The court asked the EC to ensure that the decision on the party’s application is taken before April 13.
AAP contended that the Commission already has a statement showing that the party’s performance in various State polls had made it eligible under Clause 6B of The Election Symbols (Reservation And Allotment) Order, 1968. As per the clause, a party must receive 6% of the votes in four States to qualify as a national party. AAP is already recognised as a State party in Delhi, Punjab, Goa and Gujarat.
The party told the court that after filing its application last year, it sent a reminder to the poll panel in March this year but has yet to receive a response.
The EC counsel told the court that the application is under “active consideration”.
‘Promise not kept’
At a press conference in the Capital on Thursday, senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh lashed out at EC, accusing it of working at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s behest to stall the decision.
Mr. Singh claimed that Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had, during a recent all-party meeting, said he would soon grant national party status to AAP. “Now, he is not even granting us an appointment,” the senior AAP leader said while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters.
He said recognising AAP as a national party was a “no-brainer” as “in four States, we have received more than 6% votes. In two States, we have formed the government. In Gujarat, we got five seats and 14% vote share. In Goa, we got two seats and 6.5% of the vote share”.
Mr. Singh added that they had approached the High Court as AAP was not getting the benefits due to a national party in Karnataka, which will go to polls on May 10. The results will be declared on May 13.
AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal has said his party will put up its candidates in all the seats in Karnataka. The party is making efforts to build its organisation at the booth level in the State.