INDIA. Mumbai: In a severe blow to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), founded by Maratha strongman Sharad Pawar, the Election Commission of India (ECI) withdrew the national party status of the NCP on Monday.
The EC stripped off the national party status of the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) (led by the West Bengal CM) and the Communist Party of India (CPI), while recognising the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) (led by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal) as a national party.
As per the EC order, the status of the NCP was withdrawn since it lost state party status in Goa, Manipur, and Meghalaya. The NCP was formed in 1999 by Pawar, a former Union Minister and a former Congress leader, after he, the late P A Sangma, and Tariq Anwar were expelled for six years by the Congress Working Committee when they demanded that the Congress propose someone native-born as the prime ministerial candidate and not the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi. The NCP became a national party in 2000 following its success in various elections.
The parties can regain their national and state party status based on their performance in future electoral cycles, as the Lok Sabha elections are due next year. A national party tag allows an organisation to get a common election symbol across the country, more star campaigners, free air time on national broadcasters for election campaigns, and office space in Delhi by convention.
In a statement, the EC announced that it was withdrawing the recognition of three recognised national parties—AITC, CPI, and NCP—after “following due process and providing a sufficient opportunity of two parliamentary elections and 21 state assembly elections.” The national party status of the TMC, NCP, and CPI was withdrawn.
The state party status granted to RLD in Uttar Pradesh, BRS in Andhra Pradesh, PDA in Manipur, PMK in Puducherry, RSP in West Bengal, and MPC in Mizoram was revoked. They will remain as Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPP).
The Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) in Nagaland, the Voice of the People Party in Meghalaya, and the Tipra Motha in Tripura have been granted “recognised state political party” status.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was recognised as a national party as it fulfilled the condition of Para 6B (iii) i.e. recognition as a state party in four states, based on electoral performance, i.e –Delhi, Goa, Punjab, and, most recently, Gujarat.
Soon after the ECI announcement, AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to congratulate everyone on the “miracle”. “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,” Arvind Kejriwal said.
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