India now has 2,293 political parties, 149 registered between January and Marchhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/india-now-has-2293-political-parties-149-registered-between-january-and-march-5630713/

India now has 2,293 political parties, 149 registered between January and March

'Bharosa Party', 'Sabsi Badi Party', and 'Rashtriya Saaf Niti Party' are some of the 2,300-odd political parties that India has on the eve of the 2019 general elections.

India now has 2,293 political parties, 149 registered between Jan and March
As many as 149 political parties were registered with the poll panel between February and March on the eve of the announcement of the poll schedule. (File)

The Election Commission of India’s latest data on political parties, registered till March 9, a day before the Lok Sabha elections were announced, reveal that the country is having a total of 2,293 political parties. They include seven “recognised national” and 59 “recognised state” parties. “Bharosa Party”, “Sabsi Badi Party”, and “Rashtriya Saaf Niti Party” are some of the 2,300-odd political parties that India has on the eve of the 2019 general elections.

In fact, 149 political parties were registered with the poll panel between February and March on the eve of the announcement of the poll schedule.

Till February this year, the country had 2,143 political parties registered with the Commission, with 58 of them getting registered ahead of the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh during November-December last year.

Some of the recently registered 149 parties include Bahujan Azad Party from Sitamarhi in Bihar, Samoohik Ekta Party from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Rashtriya Saaf Niti Party from Jaipur, Rajasthan, Sabsi Badi Party, Delhi, Bharosa Party from Telangana and New Generation People’s Party from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

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These registered but unrecognised political parties do not have the privilege of contesting elections on a fixed symbol of their own. They have to choose from a list of ‘free symbols’ issued by the poll panel. According to the latest EC circular, there are 84 such free symbols available currently.

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To become a recognised political party either at the state or national level, a party has to secure certain minimum percentage of polled valid votes or certain number of seats in the state legislative assembly or the Lok Sabha during the last election.

Fearing misuse of the provisions for financial contributions to political parties, the Election Commission had in 2016 asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes to look into the finances of 255 registered but unrecognised political parties it had “unlisted” that year for not contesting polls in the last one decade between 2005 and 2015.

There have been fears that most of such parties are used to ’round trip’ the black money into white. The EC had found that some of the parties were “no longer in existence or functioning”.

While the poll watchdog has the mandate to register a political party, the electoral laws denies it the power to deregister any party.

With its demand to get power to deregister a party being pending with the Law Ministry, the Commission had used its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution to “unlist” parties for being dormant and not contesting elections for a long time.