Reprieve for BSP, CPI as EC amends rules

In a major reprieve to three political parties which faced the possibility of losing their “national party” status and all the benefits associated with it, the Election Commission on Monday amended the rules under which it will now review the status of political parties every 10 years, instead of five.

After the 2014 general elections, the EC had issued show-cause notices to the Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India, asking why their “national party” status should not be withdrawn. Subsequently, they had petitioned the Commission.

Over two years later, the EC issued an Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, amending the rules that mandated a review of the status of recognised political parties every five years. “It shall be deemed to have come into force with effect from January 1, 2014, and shall always be deemed to have been so effective,” says the order.

The Commission has brought changes in Paragraph 6C of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, which was last amended in 2011.

According to the new rule, a recognised national or State party will not lose its status despite not having met the criteria in one general or Assembly election. “For instance, the status of a party — that did not perform up to the mark in 2014 – will be reviewed in 2024,” explained an official. However, the eligibility criteria for recognition will remain the same.

The political parties are eligible for “national party” status if they have won not below two per cent seats in the latest Lok Sabha elections in at least three different States; or six per cent of the total valid votes in general or Assembly elections in at least four States, apart from four Lok Sabha seats; or they are recognised as a State party in at least four States.

There are currently six recognised parties: the Bharatiya Janata Party, Indian National Congress, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI(M); and 64 recognised State parties.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 3:43:18 PM |

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