The national and state status of political parties will be reviewed every two election cycles – or 10 years – instead of the current one, the Election Commission stated in a notification issued on Monday. The rule will be effective from January 1, 2014 onwards.
The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2016, amends a previous rule that stipulated that if a political party fails to get the mandatory vote share or minimum number of seats at the "next" state or national election, it will be barred. By "next", the notification clarifies that it means the elections that will take place five years after the one at which the party got recognised. Now, the party’s status will be reviewed after two Lok Sabha or Assembly elections instead.
National parties need to win at least two seats in three separate states during the Lok Sabha elections to be recognised. At the Assembly level, parties need to hold at least 6% of the total votes to keep their status.
The election commission’s notification is likely to benefit the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Communist Party of India and the Nationalist Congress party, all of which fared poorly in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. In total, there are six national parties – Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, BSP, NCP, CPI and CPI-Marxist – and 64 state parties.