Explained: What does losing national, or state status mean for political parties

KCR's BRS is also among six political parties which lost the state party status in Andhra Pradesh

By Bhaskar Basava  Published on  13 April 2023 6:29 AM GMT
What does losing national, or state status mean for political parties

Amaravati: It was a big setback earlier this week for the budding third-front political parties in India. Mamata Banerjee's TMC and Sharad Pawar's NCP were among the three parties that lost the national status as per a recent notification released by the Election Commission of India.

CPI which is the first non-Congress party to form government in many states is no more a national party. With this, Congress, BJP, CPM, BSP, NPP & a new entry AAP are the only six parties who have national status.

KCR's BRS is also among six political parties which lost the state party status in Andhra Pradesh.

What is the impact?

TMC, NCP & CPI parties no longer have the luxury to use the election symbol of their party in any other states where it is not recognized. It must follow the free symbol provided by the Election Commission of the state. Also, its star campaigners are now limited to 20 in comparison to the 40 allocated for a national party. The expenditure incurred on the traveling and other expenses of star campaigners is now included in the election expenditure of the party candidate. It also won’t get the time slot on national and state television & radio to address the people and convey its message to the public.

Earlier the ECI used to review the status of political parties after every general election. But the Election Commission amended this rule on August 22, 2016, under which it was mentioned that henceforth it will now review the national and state status of political parties every ten years (or every 2 general elections) instead of five.

But here is the twist. The amendment to 2016 had a retrospective note stating that the order shall be deemed to have come into force with effect from January 1, 2014. The 16th Lok Sabha Polls were held on 7th April 2014. Without the retrospective clause, the review of national parties would have taken place after the 2024 elections.

Stating its grouse, in a reply to ECI, TMC, CPI, and NCP submitted letters that they were recognized as national parties based on the general election to Lok Sabha, 2014. Therefore, the review of the satisfaction of criteria of the national party can only be made after the next general election to Lok Sabha in 2024.

Telangana State Election Commissioner, C Parthasarathy said, "This is done according to the amendment made in 2016 and the rules are crystal clear. The amendment is applicable from Jan 1, 2014. Hence two Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections conducted in April 2014 and April 2019 are considered for review.

Quoting ECI rule, he said, "The order shall be called as the election symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Amendment order 2016. It shall be deemed to have come to force with effect to 1st Jan 2014 and shall always be deemed to be so effective."

A political analyst who did not wish to be named, said, "Parties thought their review will happen post-2024 elections. No one gave the amendment much thought nor did they protest the idea when the retrospective date was revised to January 2014. It has come to haunt them now."

In their reply to ECI, AITC, CPI, and NCP said, "The assessment of Para 6A & 6C starts with the position of the parties as on 01.01.2014. Thereafter, the "next election" which takes place becomes the General Election to Lok Sabha notified on 14.03.2014 along with the General Election to the Legislative Assembly held during 2014. This is so because of the phrase "next election" for purpose of Para 6C has 2 cognitive components, is to be held after 01.01.2014 and, following the GE based on which it got recognition in the first place."

Close sources from TMC told NewsMeter that the party is not happy with the ECI decision and exploring legal options to challenge the decision.

CPI National Secretary K Narayana said, "Earlier we thought of approaching Supreme Court, but we decided to fight politically rather than legally."

What is it for BRS in AP?

In its letter, BRS requested the ECI to recognize it as a state party in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana till Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies polls. But the request was denied by the ECI based on non-performance in the state. It revoked its status in Andhra.

BRS AP President, Thota Chandrasekhar told News Meter, "ECI decision will not affect us anyway. We have not contested in Andhra Pradesh since 2014. Now we will contest in 2024 and victory will ensure recognition again.”

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