EC evaluates NCP's standing as a national party
According to those with knowledge of the situation, the Election Commission (EC) convened a hearing on Tuesday to assess the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) headed by Sharad Pawar's national party status.
"Every five years, the electoral commission conducts a study of the state of the country. Tuesday saw a hearing for the same, according to senior NCP politician Praful Patel, who was present at the hearing in the EC's Delhi headquarters.
Patel did not go into specifics about the hearing, however.
According to EC representatives, the poll panel will now start debating whether the NCP satisfies the requirements to maintain national party status.
A variety of benefits come with being recognized as a national party, including a shared party emblem throughout all states, free airtime during elections on public broadcasters, and room for a party office in New Delhi, among others.
The Commission has started similar actions before. Following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it sent notices to a number of political parties, including the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), and Bahujan Samaj Party (NCP), asking them to provide justification for maintaining their national party status. But, the poll body decided to postpone its intentions to eliminate their status.
A political party may be recognized as a national party if it satisfies any of the following three requirements, as stated in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allocation) Ordinance, 1968: First, it has to win at least 6% of the votes cast in at least four Lok Sabha or assembly elections, and it also needs to have at least four Lok Sabha MPs. Second, its candidates represent a minimum of three states and at least 2% of the Lok Sabha's total seats. Third, at least four states recognize it as a state party.
National parties have currently registered with the EU. These are the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Congress, the TMC, the BSP, the CPI, the National People's Party, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) (NPP).
NCP now has seven MLAs in Nagaland, two in Kerala, and 53 parliamentarians in Maharashtra. In addition, it includes one MP from Lakshadweep and four from Maharashtra.