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EC might strip national party status from BSP, NCP, CPI

By Mukul

If someone asks you how many national parties are there in India, you will answer six, but this might not be corrected. Parties who performed worst in the recent Lok sabha election have a reason to worry - they might lose their national status soon. The Election Commission has sent a showcause notice to the three mainstream parties, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by Sharad Pawar, Bahujan Samaj Party headed by Mayawati and Communist Party of India. The Commission has sought an explanation from the parties asking why their national status should not been withdrawn.

Currently there are six national parties and 47 State parties. In addition to the above mentioned three parties, BJP, Congress, and CPI (M) are also enjoying the national tag. If these parties will lose their national status then their chances in coming Assembly election in States will further scuttle.

Narendra Modi led BJP routed these parties in LS election

Criteria for national parties

According to the Election Commission, a political party shall be eligible to be recognised as a national party if it secures at least six percent of the total votes in any four or more states, at a General election or, to the State Legislative Assembly.

Second condition is that it should win at least two per cent seats in the House of the People, and these members are elected from at least three different States.

Benefits of being a national party

Political parties who enjoy the national tag status can avail some benefits like they can advertise for their parties on Akashvani and Doordarshan during elections. In addition to these, EC provides them copies of voters list for free which is only meant for national parties and is not for State parties. Not only this, when opinion on important matters is needed, only national parties are consulted.

Warning bell ringing for the parties

BSP, CPI, and NCP were among over 1,650 political parties across India which were decimated in the 2014 Lok Sabha election by the Modi led troops. These parties couldn't even open their account in the election. According to a report, at present there are around 1,687 registered political parties in India.

Although NCP has rejected any threat to the party, State NCP chief Sunil Tatkare said, "We have been a registered as a national party since 1999 and have presence in several States. There is no reason why we cannot keep the national party status."

NCP had bagged 6 seats in 2009 Lok Sabha election and 62 in State elections.

The beleaguered parties already have started weighing their options. NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed a range of issues. The whole meeting was a hush-hush affair but the conclusion could be well drawn. CPI is also trying to put brave face, saying that they are unperturbed by the whole issue.

But the broader question is, why parties have landed themselves in this precarious position and why did they not take the required steps at the right time?

The answer is very much clear, these parties were least concerned about the plight of people. They did nothing credible for their constituency so that people could vote them. Crores of rupees under MPLAD scheme is being allocated every year but either they don't spend it or it is embezzled.

Otherwise why a party like BSP who ruled the State election in 2007 and had won 20 seats in 2009 Lok Sabha election, couldn't manage to get even a single seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Imagine the predicament of BSP chief who was dreaming to become Prime Minister of the country is now on the verge of losing the national party tag. Defeat in the Lok Sabha election was double whammy for the dalit party after decimation by Samajwadi party in 2012 State election. Her social engineering formula which catapulted the party to thumping victory in 2007 was completely rejected by people of the State.

So, this notice of Election Commission should be taken as a warning by these parties and if they want to improve their prospects in the coming election, they should start working for the benefits of people. They should walk the talk on long promises made during the election time. Parties should understand people can't fooled everytime.

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