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Amendment of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968


Under the provisions of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, candidates put up by registered unrecognized political parties at elections were hitherto allotted election symbols by the Returning Officers of the constituencies concerned after the last date for withdrawal of candidature as per the choice of symbol given by the candidates from the list of free symbols. If candidates of two political parties opted for the same symbol in a constituency, the Returning Officer decided by draw of lots. In this process, it may so happen that the candidates set up by a political party in many constituencies may get different symbols in different constituencies. 

2. Registered un-recognized political parties have been feeling aggrieved by the above provisions in the Symbols Order. Some of these political parties have filed petitions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court praying for allotment of common symbol to their candidates. 

3. In view of the above requests, and appreciating the reasonableness of these prayers before the Hon’ble Supreme Court, the Election Commission informed the Hon’ble Supreme Court that it would consider the issue to make appropriate modifications in the Symbol Order. The Commission has accordingly made certain additional provisions in the Symbols Order vide its notification dated 16-09-11 to provide for one time concession of allotment of common symbol to candidates sponsored by registered unrecognized political parties during a general election. To avail of such concession, the newly formed registered unrecognized parties will have to contest general election from at least 10% of the constituencies in a State, subject to minimum of 5 Assembly constituencies in a State having less than 50 Assembly Constituencies, and 2 Parliamentary Constituencies in a State having less than 20 Parliamentary constituencies. The intimation of such constituencies should be given to the Election Commission at least 3 clear days before the date of issue of election notification along with the choice of 10 symbols from the list of free symbols. 

4. The above concession of allotment of common symbol to the candidates of a registered unrecognized party will be only as a one-time facility either at a general election to the House of the People or to a State Legislative Assembly, as the party may choose, and a party that has availed of this concession once will not be eligible for the concession in any subsequent general election. 

5. A political party which was a recognized party earlier and which is not entitled now to the facility of allotment of any particular symbol to its candidates, will also be granted a one time facility of being allotted its earlier reserved symbol at a general election either to the Lok Sabha or to legislative assembly of a State, subject to fulfillment of the conditions mentioned above. 

Recognition of parties as a State party

6. The Commission has also liberalized the criteria for recognition of parties as State Parties. Under the existing provisions of the Symbol Order, a registered party has to fulfill any of the following conditions for recognition as a State Party: 

(i) A political party should secure at least six percent of the total valid votes polled during general election to a State Legislative Assembly and should, in addition, win at least two seats in that Assembly, or the party should win at least three percent of the total number of seats or three seats in the Legislative Assembly, whichever is more; 

(ii) Alternatively, a political party should secure at least six percent of the total valid votes polled in a State during a general election to Lok Sabha and win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha from that State, or the party should win at least one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction thereof allotted to that State. 

7. Under the liberalized criteria, one more clause has been added to provide that even if a Party fails to win any seat in a State in a general election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly of the State, the party will still be eligible for recognition as State Party if it secures 8% or more of the total valid votes polled in the State. 

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