India has a vibrant multi-party political system, with hundreds of political parties registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI). However, only a few parties hold the coveted status of being recognized as a national party. In recent times, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was recognised as a national party by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Besides that three prominent parties lost their national party statuses, such as Trinamool Congress, NCP and the CPI. The recognition as a national party provides significant benefits, including access to state funding, reserved party symbols, and eligibility to contest elections across the country. This article, how parties lose or gain national party status in India.
How does a political party get ‘National’ party status
Once a political party registered in ECI and after some time got recognised as a ‘National’ party on behalf of its work which is outlined by the election commission. According to the ECI, a party must fulfil at least one of the following conditions to be recognized as a national party:
- The party has won 2 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha (11 seats) from at least three different states in the latest general election.
- In a contest of election, the party has secured 6 percent of the total valid votes in at least four states, in addition to winning four lower house seats.
- A party should have been recognized as a state party in at least four states.
Once a party is recognized as a national party, it is entitled to certain privileges and facilities, such as a reserved symbol for its exclusive use throughout the country, free airtime on state-owned media during elections, and a larger share of election funds from the government.
What If the party lose the ‘National’ party tag
A national party can lose its status if it fails to meet the above criteria in any subsequent Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly election. In such cases, the party will be recognized as a state party in the states where it has a presence, and it will lose the privileges and facilities that come with national party status. Once the party lost their national party status, the following consequences face –
- The particular party symbol will not display on the EVM.
- The party may not be invited or participate in Election Commission meetings.
- It may also affect the political funding of a particular party.
- The party may not be allowed to connect to the people through state-media organisations like Doordarshan and All India Radio.
- It will have a direct impact on star campaigner numbers, which will be reduced from 40 to 20 during elections.
- The party will have to use a different symbol to participate in the election process.
What are the major benefits of gaining national party status?
As recognised national political parties have certain benefits, listed below.
- The party can contest elections from anywhere in the nation.
- Particular party candidates can be filing the nomination in any state
- The party can hold one election symbol, which is exclusive and valid across the country.
- The Election Commission will provide the two sets of voter list revisions.
- The party member is also allowed access to the votes list.
- A party will open a central office in New Delhi and land will be provided by the government.
- A particular party can list 40-star campaigners and in addition to this expenditure, the star campaigners will not be included in the election expenditure.
- The party also gets a platform of state-owned media to convey its message to the masses.
How many national parties in India
Check out the list of recognised national parties under the guideline of the Election Commission of India (ECI) given below.
- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
- Indian National Congress (INC)
- Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
- Bahujan Samaj Party (BJP)
- Communist Party of India (Marxist)
- National People’s Party (NPP)
The recognition of national party status is an essential aspect of the Indian political system, and it is not easy to achieve or maintain. The criteria for national party status are stringent, and parties must work hard to meet them. Losing national party status is a significant setback, and parties must strive to regain it in the next election. Overall, the recognition of national party status is a testament to the popularity and influence of a party in the Indian political landscape.