What is the criteria to become a National Party in India?

13 Dec 2022  Read 4745 Views

As India has a multi-party system, it is much easy to become a political party, than to become a national party as many crucial conditions need to be fulfilled which are tough to achieve. Because of this, there are various political parties out there with humorous names, symbols or bizarre policies like Jagte Raho Party, Life Peaceful Party, Putra Paksha and whatnot. Therefore, not every political party is capable of being recognised as a national party.

There are mainly seven national parties, but NPP is also considered the first national party from the North-East region, making it the eighth national party of India. Apart from these, India has 50+ recognised state parties. This article discusses national and state parties in India, the criteria for becoming one & the entry of AAP as a national party sooner or later etc. So, let’s get started

How many national parties are there in India?

It’s the Election Commission of India (ECI) which attributes recognition to national-level or state-level political parties based upon such conditions. There are a total of eight but mainly seven recognised national parties in India. Let’s look at these:

  1. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

  2. Indian National Congress (INC)

  3. Trinamool Congress (TMC)

  4. Communist Party of India (CPI)

  5. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)

  6. Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M))

  7. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)

Source: ECI

However, the National People's Party (NPP) has also been recognized as a national party which was the first national party from the North-East region, and AAP is the next in a row.

How to become a National Party?

The name suggests that a national party is one that has a presence ‘nationally’, unlike a regional party whose presence is limited to only a particular state or region. Any party can become a national party if it fulfils any one of these three conditions:

1. It secures at least 6% of the valid votes polled in any 4 or more states at a Lok Sabha election or to the State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha election). 

2. Additionally, apart from the votes secured as mentioned above, it must also gets four Lok Sabha seats from any state or states


It wins at least 2% seats in the Lok Sabha & these members are elected from at least three distinct States.

3. The party gained recognition as a state party in 4 states.

As of now, parties like NCP, TMC, CPI and BSP don’t meet these conditions, therefore they might even get de-recognised in future by the ECI as they have been put on notice. If they get de-recognized, then the remaining major parties at strong footing will be Congress, BJP and AAP.

How is a registered party recognised as a state party?

A registered party can become a state party if it fulfills any one of these five conditions.

  • A party must secure at least 6% of valid votes polled in an election to the state legislative assembly (Vidhan Sabha) and win at least 2 seats in that state assembly.

  • A party must secure at least 6% of valid votes polled in an election to Lok Sabha and win at least 1 seat in Lok Sabha.

  • A party must win at least 3% of the total number of seats or a minimum of three seats in the Vidhan Sabha, whichever is higher.

  • A party must win at least 1 seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction allotted to their State.

  • There is also one more clause stating that it will be eligible for recognition as a state party if it secures 8% or more of the total valid votes polled in the state.

  • Examples: Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya), Janta Congress Chhattisgarh, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) etc.

Who recognises the political parties as national or regional parties or state parties?

The ECI gives recognition to political parties such as National parties or regional parties. The ECI also assign symbols to the recognised political parties and election candidates. The Commission has some symbols as ‘reserved’ and others as ‘free’. The political party uses these symbols for all the candidates of their party.

Advantages of a Recognized National Party

National parties have the right to grant its reserved symbol exclusively to the candidates it has nominated all over India.

These recognized National parties simply needs one proposer to submit a nomination, & they are benefitted with two free sets of electoral rolls during roll revision, as well as one free electoral roll for each candidate during general elections.

National parties have the advantage of broadcasting & telecasting rights during general elections on Akashvani & Doordarshan. 

Even during general elections, every political party are allowed to nominate “Star Campaigners.” On one hand, a registered unrecognized party may nominate 20 “Star Campaigners at max,” whereas on the other hand, a recognized National or State party may nominate 40 “Star Campaigners” at max.

However, the Star campaigners travelling expenses are not included in the election expense accounts of the party.

The government grants land or a building for the National parties to establish their party headquarters.

How AAP became a national party?

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to become India’s Youngest National Party, it has been in power with big majorities & very large vote shares in Delhi & Punjab. And in the Goa Assembly elections held this year in march, it received 6.77% of the vote. (Thus, satisfying one of the criteria of more than 6% of the valid votes polled in the Legislative Assembly or Lok Sabha election). It now requires votes in either Himachal or Gujarat to be recognised in 4 states.


People usually confuse a national party with a political party. However, both of them are different from each other. On one hand, It is easy to become a political party in India but very difficult to become a national party as a political party can become a national party only after fulfilling certain conditions which are not easy to achieve. Every political party has the objective of becoming a national party and participating in elections, and no sooner, AAP is all ready to achieve this objective and become the youngest national party in India.

About the Author: Kakoli Nath | 137 Post(s)

Kakoli Nath is a legal Content Curator at Finology Legal who pursued BBA.LL.B (5 years integrated course) & she is a patent analyst. She has pursued advanced certification in Forensics Psychology and Criminal Profiling from IFS, Pune.

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