The announcement of Lok Sabha elections has seen a rush to register as a political party with as many as 34 new outfits registering themselves with the Election Commission in 16 days.
The total number of ‘registered, unrecognised’ political parties in India now stand at 1,627.
According to the Election Commission, there were a total of 1,593 such parties in the country till March 10. 24 more such parties were registered between March 11 and March 21. And by March 26 — the last EC count – 10 more outfits had registered as political parties.
These registered but unrecognised political parties do not have the privilege of contesting on their election symbols. They have to choose from a list of ‘free symbols’issued by the poll panel. According to a latest EC circular,87 such free symbols are available.
As per the Representation of the People Act, a candidate of a registered, unrecognised political party requires ten electors of the constituency as proposers.
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On the other hand, a candidate belonging to a recognised national party or a recognised state party in the state requires only one elector of the constituency as proposer.
To become a recognised political party either at the state or national level, a party has to fulfil certain criteria.
The criteria for recognition include conducting activities as a political party for a continuous period of five years, or getting at least 4 per cent of the votes polled in elections to the state legislative Assembly or the Lok Sabha in a particular state.
But while calculating the votes polled, seats where candidates of such parties have forfeited their deposit are not included.
Election Commission rules say that if a candidate fails to get a minimum of one-sixth of the total valid votes polled, the deposit goes to the treasury.
As of now, six parties – BJP, BSP, Congress, CPI, CPI (M) and NCP – are recognised as ‘national parties’. Besides, there are 47 ‘recognised state parties’.