India has a multi-party system with a predominance of small regional parties. Political parties that wish to contest local, state or national elections are required to be registered by the Election Commission of India (EC). In order to gain recognition in a state, the party must have had political activity for at least five continuous years, and send at least 4% of the state's quota to the Lok Sabha (India's Lower house), or 3.33% of members to that Legislative Assembly of that state. These conditions are deemed to have failed if a member of the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly of the State becomes a member of that political party after his election. If a party is recognised in four or more states, it is declared as a "National party" by the EC. Otherwise, it is known as a "State Party".
All parties contesting elections have to choose a symbol from a list of available symbols offered by the Election Commission. All 28 states along with the union territory of Puducherry and the National Capital Territory of Delhi usually have an elected government unless President's rule is imposed under certain conditions.
|1.||Bahujan Samaj Party||BSP||1984||Mayawati|
|2.||Bharatiya Janata Party||BJP||1980||L.K. Advani|
|3.||Communist Party of India||CPI||1925[B]||Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy|
|4.||Communist Party of India (Marxist)||CPI (M)||1964||Prakash Karat|
|5.||Indian National Congress||INC||1885||Sonia Gandhi|
|6.||NA||Samajwadi Party||SP||1992||Mulayam Singh Yadav|
Source: Election Commission of India.
If a party is recognised as a state party by the Election Commission, it can reserve a symbol for its exclusive use in the state. The following are a list of recognised state parties as of September 2009.
- ^A , the BSP may use its symbol in all states except Sikkim and Assam, where its candidates have to choose another symbol. The BSP at the moment does not have a presence in these two states.
- ^B According to the CPI(M), the breakaway faction, the CPI was founded in 1920 in Tashkent.
- ^C Uddhav Thackeray is the working president of the Shiv Sena. The overall command was held by his father and party founder who deceased on the 17th November 2012 Bal Thackeray.
- ^D NA – The exact year of formation is not available
- ^E This listing is based on the situation at the September 2009 assembly elections. Source:
- "Registration of Political Parties". FAQs. Election Commission of India. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Country Fact Sheet - India". 2007-05. Retrieved 2009-08-22.
- "Political parties: Election Symbols" (PDF). Election Commission of India. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
- "Political parties: Election Symbols, Amendment" (PDF). Election Commission of India. 09 April 2013. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- Surjeet, Harkishan Singh (2005). "Spread of Communist Activities". History of the communist movement in India 1. LeftWord Books. p. 54. ISBN 81-87496-49-5.
- Bidwai, Praful. "Hindutva in dire straits".
- Election Commission of India
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