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Explained: Can AAP get the national party status? What's the criteria?

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New Delhi, Nov 15: Gujarat elections is huge for Aam Aadmi Party for reasons more than one. The Arvind Kejriwal led AAP is pinning all its hopes on Gujarat polls as it could be its ticket to earn the status of a national party finally.

The AAP was founded in November 2012 by Arvind Kejriwal following the 2011 anti-corruption movement. The party made its electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election and emerged as the second largest party after the BJP. With the support of some Congress MLAs, it formed the government that lasted for only 49 days.

AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal

Two years later, the AAP created history by winning 67 seats out of the total 70. It expanded its wings after emerging as the second largest party in the 2017 Punjab Legislative Assembly election and won 92 seats in the 2022 assembly polls. It has also has expanded its influence to Chandigarh and Goa as well.

Now, Kejriwal-led party is hoping to eat into the vote share of BJP in that it would be able to emerge as an alternative to the BJP in Gujarat, thereby becoming the national party.

Missing AAP candidate withdraws nomination, Sisodia claims was 'forced by BJP'Missing AAP candidate withdraws nomination, Sisodia claims was 'forced by BJP'

Criteria to Earn National Status

According to the Election Commission (EC), registered political parties can get recognition as a state party or national party subject to the fulfillment of the conditions prescribed by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, as amended from time to time. A registered party is recognised as a national party only if it fulfils any one of the three conditions listed below:

  • It wins 2 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states.
  • At a general election to Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party polls 6 per cent of votes in any four or more states and in addition it wins four Lok Sabha seats.
  • The party gets recognition as a state party in four states.

Before the amendment in 2016, if a political party failed to fulfill the criteria in the subsequent Lok Sabha or state legislative assembly election, they lost their status as a recognised Party. In 2016, the ECI announced that such a review would take place after two consecutive elections instead of every election. So, even if a party comes up with dismal performance, a political party shall retain the recognised Party status.

Benefits of Getting National Status

If a party is recognised as a state party, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the state in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a national party it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.

Gujarat Assembly polls 2022: When denied ticket, 2-time BJP MLA joins AAP Gujarat Assembly polls 2022: When denied ticket, 2-time BJP MLA joins AAP

Recognised state and national parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.

Further they get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections. Political parties are entitled to nominate 'star campaigners' during General Elections.

A recognized national or state party can have a maximum of 40 star campaigners and a registered un-recognised party can nominate a maximum of 20 star campaigners. The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.

It has to be noted that the EC has recognised only eight parties as the national parties such as BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and National People's Party (NPP).

The Challenge Before AAP

The challenge for AAP, which is a recognised state party in Delhi, Punjab and Goa, is to get six per cent of votes in Gujarat polls with at least two assembly seats or secure eight per cent of all votes to be recognised as a state party in Gujarat. This will automatically earn the national status for the Aam Aadmi Party.

Kejriwal now claims BJP offered to spare Sisodia, Jain if AAP backs out of Gujarat pollsKejriwal now claims BJP offered to spare Sisodia, Jain if AAP backs out of Gujarat polls

"We are already the fastest-growing party in the history of the country. I have absolutely no doubt that we will get national party status through the 6 percent vote share (condition) in Gujarat," Moneycontrol quoted Prithvi Reddy, AAP's national spokesperson and Karnataka convenor, as saying in an interview.

However, the AAP will be taking on the BJP which has been in power since 1995 and the Congress, which, despite out of power for over two decades, has been getting over 35 per cent of vote shares in every election. Kejriwal-led party is expected to eat into vote share of both the national parties and expected to get the national party status with Gujarat polls.

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