After taking action against Registered Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPPs) for failing to comply with the rule-norm in the last few months, the Election Commission may take up the issue of internal democracy of recognized political parties.
In the recent past, the Election Commission has started a campaign to de-list Unrecognized Political Parties (RUPP). Those who have not given the details of their address, office bearers, sources of income, donations to the Election Commission, which has been made mandatory by the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Election officials say that now the issue of internal democracy of political parties will be raised. However, the “RP Act” does not mandate internal elections. The Election Commission guidelines for parties applying for registration under the Representation of the People Act state that the applicant must submit a copy of his party’s constitution to the Election Commission.
The Election Commission will encourage parties to adhere to the commitments of internal democracy, although the Election Commission does not have the power to deregister parties that fail to comply with the rules. The commission has earlier sought the law ministry’s power to deregister political parties, but the proposal has not been implemented so far.
Recently, the idea came to the fore from the Election Commission because sometime back the YSRCP had called on party president Y.S. The Election Commission had sought clarification from the YSRC after Jagan Mohan Reddy had come to the fore about being the permanent president for life. Because according to the Election Commission it is inherently anti-democratic. The election body’s order stated that the commission expressly disapproves of any attempt or indication of an organizational post to be of a permanent nature, which is inherently anti-democratic.
Prior to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also raised the issue of internal democracy of political parties. Establishing internal democracy in political parties will have the following benefits-
(1) This will eradicate dynastic politics, nepotism.
(2) This will also allow the voice of dissent within the political parties which is very necessary in a democratic system.
(3) This will discourage activities such as showing loyalty or flattery to the top leadership within political parties and encourage participation, competition and representation.
(4) This will weaken the money power and muscle power in the political system and there will be transparency in the fund handling of the parties.
(5) This will lead to the creation of a talented political leadership. Along with this, quality political discussions on topics ranging from local level to national level will be ensured.
About Election Commission of India
The Election Commission of India is a permanent constitutional body. The provisions related to the Election Commission of India are mentioned in Article 324 of the Constitution.
At present it consists of a Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. The Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners are appointed by the President of India.
How are political parties registered?
To take advantage of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, it is necessary for any party to register itself with the Election Commission. The registration of all political parties in India is done by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Rules for recognition as a national party
The political party has secured 6% vote share in the last assembly elections in each of the four states, as well as four seats in the last Lok Sabha elections or 2% of all Lok Sabha seats in the last such election (i.e. the current 543 members 11 seats in the House of the People), with MPs elected from at least three states or recognized as a state-level party in at least four states.
For recognition as a State Party, any one of five conditions must be fulfilled:
Should have secured two seats plus 6% vote share in the last assembly election in that state or one seat plus 6% vote share in the last Lok Sabha election from that state. Or
3% of the total assembly seats or 3 seats or one out of every 25 Lok Sabha seats (or equivalent fraction) from a state or 8% vote share across the state in the last Lok Sabha or previous assembly elections.
Benefits to recognized parties
A state political party is entitled to the exclusive allotment of its reserved election symbol in the State in which it is recognized. A national party is entitled to the exclusive allotment of its reserved election symbol to the candidates fielded by it throughout India . This is subject to the fulfillment of the conditions laid down by the Commission in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968. They need only one proposer to file nomination and they are also entitled to have two sets of electoral rolls free of cost. They are also entitled to broadcast facilities on the state-owned All India Radio, Doordarshan during the general elections.