EC hikes minimum votes for state parties

ECI has raised the cap of minimum votes a political party must secure in an election to get the status of a state party or maintain it further.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow | Published:October 10, 2011 3:51 am

Getting recognition as a ‘state party’ is all set to become more difficult. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has raised the cap of minimum votes a political party must secure in an election to get the status of a state party or maintain it further.

The new minimum limit is eight per cent of total valid votes polled in state Assembly or Lok Sabha polls. Earlier,the limit was six per cent.

To make this change,the ECI has amended its Election Symbols (Reservations and Allotment) Order,1968 and issued a new order on September 16,the Election Symbols (Reservations and Allotment) (Amendment) Order,2011.

The order,issued by K F Wilfred,Principal Secretary to the ECI,has been sent to all states and Union Territories. In UP,the Chief Electoral officer has communicated the amendment to all district magistrates and registered parties in the state.

Earlier,any political party to get recognition as a state party would have had to secure not less than six per cent of the total valid votes polled in the last Legislative Assembly elections or Lok Sabha polls.

In addition,the party must have returned at least two members to the Legislative Assembly in case of Assembly polls or at least one Member in Parliament from the state in case of Lok Sabha elections.

Henceforth,registered unrecognised political parties would have to secure at least eight per cent votes in future to get recognition as a state party.

Parties already recognised as state parties must have to secure at least eight per cent of total polled valid votes to retain their status.

Principal Secretary Wilfred was not available for comments. UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said,“Increase in the polling percentage in the past several elections could be the reason for the increase in the minimum limit.”

In UP,the Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal are state parties. To maintain their status in the state,these parties must secure at least eight per cent votes in the 2012 Assembly elections.

The other states going to Assembly polls next year are Uttarakhand,Manipur,Punjab,Goa,Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.

In the previous Lok Sabha elections in 2009,34 state parties and 322 registered unrecognised parties fielded candidates.

The RLD had lost the status of a state party in UP after the 2007 Assembly polls. But it got back the recognition after the 2009 Lok Sabha election when its won five seats in the state.

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