The State Election Commission (SEC) has announced that political parties that fail to contest a single seat in five years would have their registration with the SEC for local body polls cancelled.
Besides, the SEC has also said parties in power or in a ruling combine in the local bodies would have to publish an annual report regarding fulfilment of promises made in their election manifesto. If they fail to publish the report for two consecutive years, their registration would be cancelled.
Officials from the SEC said registration for local body polls has been done by the SEC since 2004. Political parties, non-governmental organisations and thinkers had suggested amendments to this process. An amended order on the registration of parties was issued on July 25, said an official.
According to the order, political parties would have to contest at least one seat in a local body in five years to keep their registrations for local body polls intact. “Political parties or candidates shouldn’t withdraw their nominations and they are expected to contest the polls,” said J S Saharia, State Election Commissioner.
Saharia further said political parties would have to submit a copy of their election manifesto to the municipal commissioner or district collector.
In case of municipal corporations, it should be submitted to the concerned municipal commissioners and to district collectors in case of the municipal councils, zilla parishads and panchayat samitis, he said.
“Parties that form the government or are part of the government in local bodies should publish an annual report on the fulfilment of promises made in the election manifesto. The report should be publicised through advertisements or on their websites,” said Saharia.
“If parties fail to submit the annual reports on fulfilment of promises for two consecutive years, their registration will be cancelled,” he added. The SEC, however, would not judge the merits of the annual report.
In order to simplify the registration process, parties would no longer need to submit their applications to the SEC but could instead submit applications to the district collectors in districts where they have headquarters. Collectors would scrutinise the applications and send them to the SEC.
Also, political parties registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI) could submit their registration applications directly to the secretary of the SEC. “For local body polls, parties with preferences for symbols are required to register with us and those registered are expected to follow our rules.
So, the SEC will cancel the registration of the political parties registered with us, including the parties recognised by the ECI but they would still continue to remain recognised parties of the ECI,” said Saharia.