By downgrading three parties, ECI may have spurred Oppn unity moves
The ECI poll panel said that the status of the NCP, the CPI and the Trinamool Congress as national political parties will be withdrawn
Ahead of the general election the Election Commission of India scrapping the national party status of the TMC, NCP and the CPI and granting national party status to the AAP may play a significant role in the positioning of the three opposition parties.
The dethroned parties will have to struggle for a national footprint and will have to ally with national parties to get the desired seat and vote percentage to claim the status again.
Majeed Memon of the TMC said, "when the graph of a national political party drops down from the requisite standard to qualify the EC should not withdraw its status. Five years to come up once again should be given and only after that the status could be brought down if the party does not regain lost ground."
The BJP, the Congress, the CPI-M, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the National People's Party (NPP) and the Aam Aadmi Party are now the main national parties.
But insiders say that this will help to build an alliance and will lead to realignment of the parties in the general elections. Since the EC decision many meetings on opposition unity have taken place.
In the Lok Sabha the TMC has no member outside West Bengal. It is trying to create a presence in Assam amongst the Bengali speaking people and also in Tripura so it may go in for an alliance with the Congress in these states and concede some seats in West Bengal which the BJP won in the last election. Similarly the NCP has one MP from Lakshwadeep but it wants the MVA intact in Maharashtra. The AAP has gained national party status but has no presence in the Lok Sabha.
Punjab has 13 and Delhi 7 Lok Sabha seats so it may concede a few seats in Delhi to gain in Punjab.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and NCP chief Sharad Pawar had met Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi to take the cause of opposition unity forward. The meeting took place at Kharge's residence.
Sharad Pawar advocated for larger unity and will reach out to the TMC which has lost its national status. "I want that there should be talks with leaders of all opposition parties including Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal. We should talk to them and move forward, taking everyone along to unite the opposition," Pawar said.
The TMC and the AAP which have fought the Goa elections have affected the Congress while in Gujarat and Uttarakhand the AAP has damaged the Congress. The party which is ruling Delhi and Punjab has gained national status but has hinted at a restrained approach in the fight ahead and may align with the front.
Nitish Kumar's JD-U, and Lalu Prasad's RJD, who are coalition allies in Bihar, are also regional parties but could become the axis of the opposition alliance.
Nitish Kumar met Delhi Chief Minister and AAP head Arvind Kejriwal, CPI-M chief Sitaram Yechury and the CPI's D. Raja. The CPI has lost its national party status but can play a significant role in the opposition.
The Aam Aadmi Party was on Monday accorded the status of a national party by the Election Commission.
In an order issued on Monday, the ECI also withdrew the state party status given to late Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in Uttar Pradesh, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in Andhra Pradesh, the PDA in Manipur, the PMK in Puducherry, the RSP in West Bengal and the MPC in Mizoram.
The Commission said that the AAP has been nominated as a national party after its electoral performance in four states namely Delhi, Goa, Punjab and Gujarat. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party is in power in Delhi and Punjab.
The poll panel said that the status of the NCP, the CPI and the Trinamool as national political parties would be withdrawn.
The EC also announced that the NCP and the Trinamool will be recognised as state parties in Nagaland and Meghalaya, respectively based on their performance in the recently concluded Assembly elections.
It also granted "recognised state political party" status to the Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas in Nagaland, the Voice of the People Party in Meghalaya and the Tipra Motha in Tripura.