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Political Parties

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India has a multi-party system, where political parties are classified as national, state or regional level parties. The status of party is accorded by the Election Commission of India, and the same is reviewed occasionally. All parties are registered with the Election Commission.

A special and unique election symbol is given to every registered party by the Election Commission.


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Criterion for Recognition

The Election Commission has laid down certain criteria for a party to be recognised as national or state level parties.

National Party

A party has to live up to at least one of the following qualifications to be recognised as a national party:

  • It has to win a minimum of two per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states.
  • In General Elections, the party must manage to win six per cent of the votes and win at least four Lok Sabha seats as well.
  • The party is recognised as a 'state level party' in four or more states.


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State Party

A party has to live up to at least one of the following qualifications to be acknowledged as a state party.

  • The party has to win at least three seats or three per cent of the seats in the state legislative Assembly.
  • It has to win minimum one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction allotted to that concerned state.
  • In a particular election, the party has to bag at least six per cent of the total votes, and also win one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats.
  • The status of a state party can still be bestowed upon an entity even if it fails to win any seats in the Lok Sabha or the Assembly, if it manages to win at least eight per cent of the total votes cast in the entire state.


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National Parties in India

Despite the large number of political parties operating in India, very few are able to make their presence felt at the national level except when it comes to alliances. The natural reason for this is that it takes a long time for any party to evolve from its regional moorings and have its ideology accepted by a large enough segment of the population. The table below lists political parties that boast of a pan-India presence. These have been listed in alphabetical order, and not necessarily in the order of their influence.


State Parties in India

Owing to rich cultural diversity, India’s political fabric has seen the emergence of many strong state parties. These cater to the interests of their particular states, and are often critical to make or break alliances in the Lok Sabha elections. The table below provides a list of the various state political parties in India, in alphabetical order.


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Regional Parties in India

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that politics in India is dictated by regional parties. These smaller parties hold considerable clout in individual states, leading to a highly fragmented vote distribution. As a result, political alliances and surprise moves are a common spectacle, as governments are formed and dissolved unanticipated. The sentiment was echoed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee before the 2014 elections, who said that the mainstream parties were “zero”, and that the future of India would be decided by regional political parties. Looking at the political history of India, there can be no doubt that regional parties are indeed the trump card. Below you will find the list of all regional political parties of India.



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