New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party was recognised as a national party while the Trinamool Congress, NCP and the CPI were stripped of the coveted status by the Election Commission on Monday.
In separate orders, the Commission also revoked the state party status granted to RLD in Uttar Pradesh, BRS in Andhra Pradesh, PDA (Manipur), PMK (Puducherry), RSP (West Bengal) and MPC (Mizoram). The NCP also lost the state party status in Goa, Manipur and Meghalaya.
The country now has six national parties – BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), CPI(M), National People’s Party (NPP) and AAP.
Election Commission officials said the parties can regain their national and state party status based on their performance in future electoral cycles as also the Lok Sabha elections due next year.
The announcement of national party status for AAP comes a week after the Karnataka High Court directed the Commission to pass an order before April 13 on the matter.
AAP was formed by Arvind Kejriwal in 2012 and went on to sweep the Delhi Assembly elections in 2015 and Punjab in 2022.
“National party in such a short time? This is nothing less than a miracle. Many congratulations to all. Crores of people from the country have taken us here. People expect a lot from us. Today people have given us this huge responsibility. Lord, bless us to fulfil this responsibility well,” AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
Reacting to the EC announcement, CPI National Secretary Binoy Biswam said, “National recognition is of course important from a technical point of view. CPI’s recognition is in the hearts of the toiling masses. It is built up with the blood, sweat and tears of the fighting people. The party will intensify its battle for democracy, secularism and socialism.” Trinamool Congress sources said the party was exploring legal options to challenge the Election Commission decision.
Taking a swipe at the Trinamool Congress, BJP leader Dilip Ghosh said, “No one can become a national party forcibly and by spending money.” The Election Commission said that NCP and Trinamool Congress will be recognised as state parties in Nagaland and Meghalaya respectively based on their performance in the recently concluded assembly elections.
It also granted “recognised state political party” status to the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) in Nagaland, Voice of the People Party in Meghalaya, and the Tipra Motha in Tripura.
The Trinamool Congress, which was formed by Mamata Banerjee in 1998 after she parted ways with the Congress, became a state party in 2014. The party came to power in West Bengal in 2011 and subsequently expanded to Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura.
The Trinamool Congress received the national party tag in 2016, but its dismal show in Goa and some northeastern states has led to withdrawal of the status.
The NCP was formed by Sharad Pawar, another former Congress leader, in 1999 and became a national party in 2000 following its success in various elections.
The CPI, founded in 1925, was recognised as a national party in 1989 but the tag was withdrawn following its dismal performance in West Bengal and Odisha elections.
The Election Commission said that the decision had been taken after a thorough review and consultations with the representatives of respective parties.
A national party tag allows an organisation to get a common poll symbol across the country, more star campaigners, free air time on national broadcasters for election campaigns and by convention office space in Delhi.
The Commission said AAP has been named as a national party as it fulfilled the condition of Para 6B(iii) of the Symbols Order 1968 that accords such status to a state party based on electoral performance in four states — Delhi, Goa, Punjab and most recently in Gujarat.
It said that the status of NCP, CPI and Trinamool Congress as national political parties would be withdrawn.
All the three parties were granted the national party status as they had won not less than six per cent of the total votes polled in any four or more states.