West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is among the three political parties which have been asked by India’s Election Commission to show cause why notices why their national party status should not be scrapped after their dismal performance in recent parliamentary elections.
As per the EC rulebook, Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, ‘national status’ is conferred on a party if its candidates secure at least six per cent of the votes polled in a state in parliamentary poll or if four of its lawmakers get re-elected from any state or if it wins at least two per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha in the last general elections or if the party is recognised as a state party in at least four states.
Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar and Communist Party of India do not meet any of the above-mentioned conditions after the latest general elections and hence the EC show cause notice to them. If these parties lose the national party tag, only five parties-- Congress, BJP, CPI-M, BSP and National People’s Party of Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland--will be left with that status.
While NCP’s poor show in the North East is likely to cost it its national status, Trinamool’s lack of presence in other states has worked against it. The national party status allows a political party to retain a single and permanent election symbol in all states. It also qualifies them to be given campaign time on national broadcasters during elections besides the right to have a party office in New Delhi. The three parties have been asked to give by August 5 their responses to the EC show cause notices.