The Election Commission has issued the parties show-cause notices after their poor performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections.



New Delhi: The sword of losing national party status is hanging on the heads of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Communist Party of India (CPI), as the Election Commission has issued them show-cause notices following their poor performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections.

According to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, a political party can be recognised as a national party if its candidates secure at least 6% of votes polled in four or more states in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, and, in addition, it has at least four members in the Lok Sabha. It also should have at least 2% of the total Lok Sabha seats and its candidates must come from not less than three states.

The EC has asked these parties to explain why their national party status should not be revoked as the three parties no longer fulfilled any of the required conditions, said an Election Commission official.

As per rules, 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.

The TMC and CPI have urged the Commission to put the review on hold, the official said. The TMC has argued that it was awarded national party status only in 2016 and, therefore, should be allowed to retain the same till the 2024 elections.

The TMC’s argument is in view of the Election Commission’s decision to review such status after two poll cycles instead of one, which was applied earlier in case of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

The CPI, too, has requested the EC to review its status after 2024. It has cited the party’s history to defend its national character.

It is to be noted that CPI, the BSP and the NCP were facing the prospect of losing national party status after their dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well. However, they got a reprieve when in 2016 the Election Commission amended its rules, saying national and state party status for political parties were to be reviewed every 10 years instead of five.

The BSP, which won 10 Lok Sabha and some Assembly seats as well, does not face the possibility of losing its national party status as of now.

As per the Election Commission’s order, on losing its national status, a party does not have the right to fight elections using a common symbol across the country. In other words, if the decision is implemented, the symbols of these parties would not be reserved for all the candidates across the country. It can be used only in states where these parties are recognised as state parties.

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