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EC issues showcause notice to TMC, CPI, NCP over national party status

Date: 20 July 2019 Tags: Constitution, Commissions & Committees

Election Commission (EC) has issued showcause notice to three political parties Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Communist Party of India (CPI) over revoking their national party status following their dismal performance in Lok Sabha elections as per the rules. EC has asked them to explain why their national party status should not be revoked and asked to respond to the notice by August 5, 2019.

Note: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which has won 10 Lok Sabha in 2019 Lok Sabha Elections and some assembly seats, does not face the possibility of losing its national party status now.

Criteria for National Party Status

According to Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, EC can recognise political party as national party if its candidates secure at least 6% of votes polled in four or more states in Lok Sabha or assembly elections, and, in addition, it has at least four members in the Lok Sabha OR it also should have at least 2% of total Lok Sabha seats and its candidates come from not less than three states OR it is recognisated as state party in four states. As of now, TMC, BJP, BSP, CPI, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress (INC), NCP and National People’s Party of Meghalaya have national party status.

Change in Reviewing Status: In 2016, EC amended its rules stating that national and state party status of political parties are to be reviewed every 10 years instead of five. This change in rule had given reprieve to CPI, BSP and NCP which were facing prospects of losing their national party status after their dismal performance in 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well.

Note: Under the Symbols Order 1968, a party, on losing national status, does not have right to fight elections using common symbol across country and it can use it only in states where it is recognised as state party. Thus, loss of national party status is equivalent to losing national character of the party.