Electoral Reforms In India

What it takes to become a ‘National Party’ in India?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: State and National Party

Mains level: Read the attached story

A political party (revived from the anti-corruption movement) is on track to be recognized as a 9th national party by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

What is a national party?

  • The name suggests that a national party would be one that has a presence ‘nationally’, as opposed to a regional party whose presence is restricted to only a particular state or region.
  • National parties are usually India’s bigger parties.
  • However, some smaller parties, like the communist parties, are also recognised as national parties.
  • A certain stature is sometimes associated with being a national party, but this does not necessarily translate into having a lot of national political clout.

So how is a political party defined?

The ECI’s Political Parties and Election Symbols, 2019 handbook species following criteria:

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 for recognized parties

  • This is subject to the fulfillment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

(a) Reserved Sybol

  • If a party is recognised as a ‘state party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the state in which it is so recognised.
  • If a party is recognised as a ‘national party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.

(b) Proposer for nomination

  • Recognised ‘state’ and ‘national’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination.

(c) Campaigning benefits

  • They are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over state-owned Akashvani/Doordarshan during the general elections.


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