In a first-of-its-kind action, the Election Commission on Tuesday suspended the recognition of the PA Sangma-led National People’s Party– a recognised state party in Meghalaya—for its “failure” to file the election expenditure statement for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“Exercising power under para 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, the Election Commission of India has suspended the recognition of the National People’s Party, a recognized state party in Meghalaya, due to its failure in filing the election expenditure statement of the party,” the EC said today.
The EC stated that in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s judgement in the case of Common Cause Vs Union of India and others, it had issued instructions to all political parties, to file their election expenditure statement within 75 days of assembly elections and 90 days of Lok Sabha elections.
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Since the elections to Lok Sabha, 2014, and elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim, 2014, were completed on May 28, 2014, the political parties were required to submit their election expenditure statements for these polls by August 26, 2014.
“The Commission had issued two reminders to the National People’s Party to submit the required statement for Lok Sabha election 2014 after the due date had long expired, on 26th August 2014,” the EC stated. Finally, the EC issued a showcause notice to NPP on March 17 this year asking why action should not be taken against it.
“On receipt of the Notice, the National People’s Party had requested time to submit its expenditure statement by 15th April 2015 and again for time up to by 15 May 2015 but failed to honor the deadline and did not file the expenditure statement of the party,” the EC said, adding that “it is the first case that recognition of a party has been suspended by the Commission under Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968, for its failure to follow the Lawful directions of the Commission”.
When contacted, National People’s Party’s Chief PA Sangma said that he was not aware of his party’s recognition been suspended because of failure to file election expenditure statement. NPP’s National Secretary and Treasurer Alok Goel said, “We have no clue about this. We haven’t received any official communication from the EC so far. We’ll respond to them once we get it officially. However, I recall having submitted the details on May 13. There’s a possibility that the details we submitted did not reach the concerned officials by the May 15.”