SENIOR NCP leader and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday said the party will respond to the Election Commission’s notice on cancellation of NCP’s status as a national party.
Speaking to the media, Pawar said the party had not received the notice yet but he has read in the papers that the EC has issued such a notice to three parties.
“I have read in the newspapers that the NCP has been issued the notice. We have a party meeting tomorrow and this issue will be discussed. We will respond to the notice after deliberating on the points raised there,” said Pawar.
According to media reports, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC), Sharad Pawar-led NCP and the CPI have been issued show-cause notices, demanding information on why their statuses as “national party” should not be withdrawn in the light of their ineligibility as established after the Lok Sabha elections.
According to the EC rulebook, Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, ‘national status’ is conferred to a party if its candidates secure at least 6 per cent votes polled in a state in a Lok Sabha election, or if four of its MPs get re-elected from any state, or if it wins at least 2 per cent seats in the Lok Sabha in the last general elections, or if the party is recognised as a state party in at least four states.
The three political parties, TMC, NCP and CPI, and Mayawati’s BSP were issued show-cause notices in 2014 on their ineligibility.
However, following representations from the parties, the EC decided to take a less stringent view and amended the rules to assess the eligibility criteria for a national party status over two elections rather than just one. The NCP’s poor show in the Northeast is likely to cost it its national status, and TMC’s lack of presence in other states has worked against it.
The national party status allows a political party to retain a single and permanent election symbol across all states. It also qualifies them to get free campaign slots on national broadcasters during elections besides the right to a party office in New Delhi.