Communist Party of India Runs The Risk Of Losing National Party Status After Election Debacle
The Communist Party of India is likely to lose its national party status after it won just two Lok Sabha seats in the recently concluded general elections.
The CPI—along with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Nationalist Congress Party—were facing prospects of losing their national party status after 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well. However, they got a reprieve as the Election Commission in 2016 amended its rules, whereby it will review national and state party status of political parties every 10 years instead of the present five.
“According to the present criteria of the EC, we are in danger of losing the national party status. They will decide if we exist nationally. I hope the poll body takes a positive view,” said CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy. “However, the lack of this status will not affect the work that we are doing.”
“The marginalisation of the Left will have very serious implication on the future of the country. Therefore, the National Executive of CPI has reiterated its position that the situation demands the reunification of the Left parties and reworking of strategies,” Reddy said, adding that the Left needs young blood.
According to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, a political party can be recognised as a national party if its candidates secure at least six percent of votes polled in four or more states in the Lok Sabha or assembly elections and has at least four members in the Lok Sabha.
A political party also needs to have at least two percent of the total Lok Sabha seats and its candidates should come from not less than three states. It should be also recognised as a state party in at least four states.
The CPI fulfils the criterion of being a state party in Kerala (19 MLAs in 2016), Tamil Nadu (1.28 Lok Sabha MPs for every 25 MPs from the state) and Manipur (8.3 percent vote share in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls), but fails on other counts.
A notification issued by the Election Commission on March 15 lists seven national parties in India. They are All India Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, BSP, CPI, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress and NCP.