NEW DELHI: The number of political parties contesting the Lok Sabha polls saw a jump in the just-concluded Lok Sabha Elections. A total of 677 parties fought the polls, up from 464 in 2014 and 368 in the 2009 elections.
The figure implies that there has been an increase of 84% in the number of political parties from 2009 to 2019.
A string of parties began sprouting from all corners of the country ahead of the general elections. Since April 2018, nearly 120 new political outfits joined the list of over 2,000 unrecognised parties, and another 24 applied for registration. Between July and December 2018, a total of 118 new political outfits signed up with the poll panel.
Though the number of such outfits is significant, their vote share or polling percentage is less than 1%. Experts see different reasons for the mushrooming of such parties.
A senior EC official said that registration of political parties is very easy and this explains why the country is now home to such a large number of political parties.
“In some cases these smaller parties also eat into the vote share of the bigger ones. These parties might also be used for money laundering as they are exempted from income tax,” the official said.
Advocate Umesh Sharma, a legal expert, said, “They have a different agenda. Some indulge in corrupt activities, as even if they don’t contest polls, they are free to collect donations and enjoy tax exemption.”