Recognition Criteria of Political Parties

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With the recent allotment of the recognition of state party to Aam Admi Party (AAP) of Delhi has brought in the news, the criteria for the same.

Election Commission’s criteria for being a state party

  • Election commission (EC) has scratched all the previous criteria for being a state party.
  • Previously, for being a state party a political party had to secure 6% of the total valid votes polled & in addition had to win some seats or atleast three percent of the total number of seats or three seats in the Legislative Assembly, whichever is more. Alternatively, a political party should secure at least six percent of the total valid votes polled in a State during a general election to Lok Sabha and win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha from that State, or the party should win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to that State.
  • Now, according to EC, any political party in the state which is able to secure 8% of the total Valid votes polled (by all of its candidates together) will be hence forth recognized as the state party, irrespective of the number of seats it secures. Also, if the party wins 6% of total Votes polled (not only Valid votes) it would qualify for that. In addition party should win one Assembly seat per 25 seats of that state.


  • It has been done because there had been cases where even after securing over 10 % of the votes polled, a political party was able to get a seat in that election because of which it was not allotted the mark of being a state party.
  • That is why to tackle such situation previous criteria of securing 6% votes has been changed to minimum 8% of the total votes polled & then that party can be called as state party.
  • According to EC, eight per cent of popular vote is a sizeable vote and that cannot be ignored.
  • So, basically EC has changed the recognition criteria for the political party. It will now be on the basis of total number of votes polled and not on the number of seats a political party gets.
  • The procedure has been simplified greatly because of this change.

Criteria for being a national party
A political party is called a national party if :-
(i) it secures at least six percent(6%) of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly; and
(ii) in addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.
it wins at least two percent (2%) seats in the House of the People i.e. Lok Sabha, and these members are elected from at least three different States.

  • EC recognized a political party either as a national party or a state party.
  • The state party gain exclusive use of an election symbol for all its candidates.
  • The symbol adopted by the state party is marked as reserved & can’t be used by any other political party.
  • If it’s a national party, it can use the same symbol all over the country.
  • But a state party is not entitled to use the same symbol which it uses in its state outside the state. That is a state party can’t use the same symbol outside the state.
  • Members of the party get a license to address voters through AIR (All India Radio) and Doordarshan (India’s national channel) during elections.


  • Party Symbol avoids confusion in the party supporters & also among the people who are going to vote.
  • It is very tedious to remember the name of the leader but is easy to remember the symbol of the party to which the leader belongs. It helps at the voting time.
  • Moreover, most of the Indian population is still illiterate. But a symbol doesn’t need literacy. Even a illiterate person can cast a vote if he known the symbol of the political party he likes most.

Think of a case, where a political party has different symbol for each of its candidates. Then it will create a lot of confusion in the minds of party also & even the voters.


  • EC allots a symbol from the available list of “free symbols” to that new party.
  • If the party has formed because of the split in an existing party, then various discussions are held to recognize which is the actual successor of the parent party.
  • The successor is allotted the previous party symbol i.e. the original symbol & the other party is given from the free symbol if it is not recognized as the state or national party after the split.


  • Aam Admi Party has been formed by Arvind Kejriwal (a former revenue officer & a officer turned politician after the movement of Anna Hazare against corruption).
  • It won 28 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections out of 70 seats. So, it has been recognized as a state party.
  • It’s election symbol is “broom”.
  • Now, as it’s a state party now it has been given option to design a new election symbol or continue with the “broom” symbol as its party symbol.
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