Electoral Reforms In India

Recognizing a National Party


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National/State Political Parties

Mains level : Political Parties and their dynamics

  • Recently a political party viz. National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya got recognition as a “national party”.
  • The NPP is the eighth party to get that recognition — after INC, BJP, BSP, NCP, CPI, CPI(M) and TMC — and the first from the Northeast.

Recognizing a National Party

  • The Election Commission lists political parties as “national party”, “state party” or “registered (unrecognised) party”.
  • The conditions for being listed as a national or a state party are specified under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
  • A party has to satisfy any one of a number of these conditions.

For recognition as a NATIONAL PARTY, the conditions specified are:

  1. a 6% vote share in the last Assembly polls in each of any four states, as well as four seats in the last Lok Sabha polls; or
  2. 2% of all Lok Sabha seats in the last such election, with MPs elected from at least three states; or
  3. recognition as a state party in at least four states.

For recognition as a STATE PARTY, any one of five conditions needs to be satisfied:

  1. two seats plus a 6% vote share in the last Assembly election in that state; or
  2. one seat plus a 6% vote share in the last Lok Sabha election from that state; or
  3. 3% of the total Assembly seats or 3 seats, whichever is more; or
  4. one of every 25 Lok Sabha seats (or an equivalent fraction) from a state; or
  5. an 8% state-wide vote share in either the last Lok Sabha or the last Assembly polls.

Benefits of such recognition

  • The biggest advantage of being recognized is getting the reserved symbol. A party recognized as a state party gets a reserved symbol within the state.
  • For National Parties, the reserved symbol can be used across the country by its contesting candidates. This is one the biggest advantages since symbol plays a very important role in elections.
  • There are also other advantages to the recognized parties like subsidized land for party offices, free air time on Doordarshan & All India Radio, supply of electoral roll copies free of cost during elections etc.

Losing the recognition

  • Once recognised as a national or a state party, a political party retains that status irrespective of its performance in the next elections.
  • It loses the given status only if it fails to fulfil any of the conditions for two successive Assembly and two successive Lok Sabha elections.
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