The Communist Party of India (CPI) is likely to lose its national party status following the debacle in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections in which the party won just two seats.
The CPI along with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) were facing the prospects of losing their national party status after their dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well.
However, they had got a reprieve when in 2016 the Election Commission (EC) amended its rules, whereby it will review the national and state party status of political parties every ten 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,” he added.
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 per cent of votes polled in four or more states in Lok Sabha or assembly elections, and, in addition, it has at least four members in the Lok Sabha.
It also has to have at least two per cent of the total Lok Sabha seats and its candidates come from not less than three states. Third, it is 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% 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 (in alphabetical order): All India Trinamool Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), BSP, CPI, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress (INC) and NCP.
“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 situation demands the reunification of the communist parties and reworking of strategies,” Reddy said, adding that there was a need to bring in young blood into the party.