The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was leading in 5 seats in Gujarat after more than seven hours of counting of votes on December 8, But its vote-share was close to 13%, which meant it is on track to be recognised as a national party by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
The name suggests that a national party would be one that has a presence ‘nationally’, as opposed to a regional party whose presence is restricted to only a particular state or region. National parties are usually India’s bigger parties, such as the Congress and BJP. However, some smaller parties, like the communist parties, are also recognised as national parties.
The ECI has laid down the technical criterion for a party to be recognised as a national party. A party may gain or lose national party status from time to time, depending on the fulfilment of these laid-down conditions. As per the ECI’s Political Parties and Election Symbols, 2019 handbook, a political party would be considered a national party if:
i. it is ‘recognised’ in four or more states; or ii. if its candidates polled at least 6% of total valid votes in any four or more states in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections and has at least four MPs in the last Lok Sabha polls; or iii. if it has won at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha from not less than three states.
How Gujarat helped AAP to become National Party?
The AAP is in power with big majorities – and very large vote in Delhi and Punjab. And in the Goa Assembly elections held in March, it received 6.77% of the vote. shares This meant that going into the Gujarat-Himachal elections, the party already fulfilled the criteria for recognition as a state party in three states.
It now required 6% of the vote in the Assembly elections in either Himachal or Gujarat to be recognised in a fourth state – which would qualify it for recognition as a national party. While the AAP got only 1% of the vote in Himachal, its almost 13% vote in Gujarat is more than double what it required to be recognised as a state party there. That made it four states.
Benefits for AAP:
AAP’s election symbol (broom) will remain unchanged across India. National parties get broadcast and telecast bands on Akashvani and Doordarshan during general elections. They can have a maximum of 40 star campaigners. They get government land to build party headquarters.