Trinamool, CPI, NCP defend national party status before Election Commission

The three told the Commission that they are old parties which had played a key role in national politics and the yardstick being applied by the poll panel was not correct.

Published: 09th September 2019 09:21 PM  |   Last Updated: 09th September 2019 09:21 PM   |  A+A-

Election Commission of India

Election Commission of India (Photo |Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The CPI, TMC and the NCP on Monday urged the Election Commission not to strip them of national party status, saying the decision shouldn't be based on poor result in recent elections alone, and sought a fresh opportunity to prove themselves in the coming assembly polls.

The three told the Commission that they are old parties which had played a key role in national politics and the yardstick being applied by the poll panel was not correct.

The parties had appeared before the Commission for a personal hearing on Monday.

Earlier, responding to a show cause notice, the three had told the poll panel that their national party status should not be revoked based on their performance in the Lok Sabha elections this year.

The Election Commission had earlier issued them notices asking why their 'national party' status should not be revoked following their performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

The CPI said that after the Congress, it is the oldest party in the country which had been the principal opposition party in Lok Sabha.

The Left party said though it may not have fared well in the recent Lok Sabha elections, it has been in power in several states and has played a key role in strengthening the Constitution.

"We told the EC that we are one of the oldest political parties in the country which was at the forefront in the freedom struggle. We have requested the EC to allow us retain the national party status," CPI General Secretary D Raja told reporters after the meeting.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) said that it was given national party status in 2014 and it should be allowed to continue with it at least till 2024.

"The rules were changed in 2016 which allow the EC to carry out review of status after two election cycles. We said the principle has not been applied to us. Now they will call us again for a second hearing after Diwali (next month)," Kalyan Banerjee of TMC said.

The CPI, BSP and the NCP were facing the prospect of losing their national party status after their dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well.

However, they got a reprieve when in 2016 the EC amended its rules, whereby national and state party status of political parties are to be reviewed every 10 years instead of five.

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which won 10 Lok Sabha in the last parliamentary polls, and some assembly seats, does not face the possibility of losing its national party status now.

NCP leader Majid Memon said he told the poll panel that this was "not the right time to apply the yard stick".

"The NCP was in power in Maharashtra for 15 years and this is an exceptional party which from its formation itself qualified for being a national political party. Soon after its formation, it went into elections and satisfied the requirement of definition of national political party."

"But for this setback in the 2014 (Maharashtra assembly) election, we have maintained our recognition and acceptability among the people" he said.

He said for "one failure we can't lose our status".

"We will bounce back in the (Maharashtra assembly) elections that are coming. We deserve this opportunity," he told PTI.

According to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, a political party can be recognised as a national party if its candidates secure at least six per cent of votes polled in four or more states in Lok Sabha or assembly elections, and, in addition, it has at least four members in Lok Sabha.

As of now, the Indian National Congress (INC), BJP, BSP, CPI, Communist Party of India (Marxist), TMC, NCP and the National People's Party of Meghalaya have national party status.

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