Rules for allocation of symbols to unrecognized political parties

News Excerpt:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) introduced new rules for allocating symbols to Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs).

About the new rules:

  • RUPPs must furnish audited accounts of the last three financial years.
  • They must furnish expenditure statements for the last two elections.
  • Earlier the RUPPs were giving the signature requirement of the authorised office-bearer of the party, along with the application form for symbols separately.
    • Now, these details are being made part of the application format for common symbols.
  • The new rules would come into effect from January 11 this year.

Earlier developments regarding RUPPs:

  • In order to ensure transparency, in 2014, the EC gave directions that RUPPs wanting to avail the benefits of having a common symbol have to submit proof of having filed up-to-date contribution reports, audited annual accounts, updated election expenditure statements, and their latest organization details.
  • In 2022, the ECI had de-listed 86 non-existent RUPPs and declared another 253 as ‘Inactive RUPPs’.

Registered Unrecognised Political Parties (RUPPs):

  • These are either newly registered parties, those that have not secured enough votes in the assembly or general election to become a state party, or those that have never contested elections after being registered.
  • Common symbols are provided to RUPPs based upon an undertaking that they would put up “at least 5% of total candidates with regard to said Legislative Assembly election of a State”.
  • The EC receives the applications from RUPPs in prescribed proforma for allotment of symbols under Provisions of Para 10B of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968.

Allotment of election symbols to political parties in India:

  • The ECI is responsible for the allotment of symbols.
    • This is done under The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, which provides for specification, reservation, choice and allotment of symbols at elections in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies.
  • Symbols can be either reserved, i.e., exclusive to a recognised political party (having garnered a minimum number of votes or seats at national or state level elections), or ‘free’.
  • Recognised national and state parties get exclusive symbols.
  • RUPP’s candidates can choose from free, non-exclusive symbols.
    • After being selected by parties, in subsequent elections, these symbols are declared free again for others to choose.

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