Nirvachan Sadan,
Ashoka Road,
New Delhi – 110 001.

No. MCS/PN/22/2000          

Dated : 2nd December, 2000.



The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, was promulgated by the Election Commission on 31st August, 1968, in exercise of its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and Rules 5 and 10 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. The Order, initially, made provisions, both for the registration of political parties and also for their recognition as National and State parties, and also for the specification and allotment of election symbols to contesting candidates.

  1. The Commission has, from time to time, keeping in view the changes in the political scenario in the country, brought about amendments to the Symbols Order to ensure that the provisions contained therein bear a realistic nexus to the democratic set up in the country. The last major amendment to the Symbols Order was carried out in 1997, where the Commission recognised the importance of the role being played by State Parties in the country’s democratic structure and sought to give, as far as possible, the usage of symbols on an exclusive basis, all over the country, for all State parties.

  2. In the current amendment to the Symbols Order, the Commission, has infused the following five principles, which, in its view, should govern the polity in the country, situate as it is in its present state :

  1. Legislative presence is a must for recognition as a National or State party.

  2. For a National party, it must be the legislative presence in the Lok Sabha, and, for a State party, the legislative presence must be reflected in the State Assembly.

  3. In any election, a party can set up a candidate only from amongst its own members.

  4. A party, that loses its recognition, shall not lose its symbol immediately, but shall be given  the facility to use that symbol for some time to try and retrieve its status. [However, thegrant of such facility to the party to use its symbol will not mean the extension of other facilities to it, as are available to recognised parties, like, free time on Doordarshan/AIR, free supply of copies of electoral rolls, etc.]

  5. Recognition should be given to a party only on the basis of its own performance in elections and not because it is a splinter group of some other recognised party.

  1. The revised criteria for recognition shall not be applied to the detriment of any of the existing recognised National and  State parties. Their current status as recognised National or State parties under the pre-revised criteria shall continue, till it is modified after any future general elections to the House of the People or State Legislative Assemblies.

  2. The Commission has, in arriving at these decisions, had the benefit of the submissions made by the parties in the court proceedings before it, discussions with concerned and knowledgeable persons, opinions expressed by political and legal analysts in the press, and its own repeated and intensive debates internally over a considerable length of time. In formulating these amendments, the Commission is clearly of the view that a National party should have a marked presence in a sizeable portion of the country, its activities should be widespread, on the basis of which it is able to secure a reasonable number of votes in different States; and that it must have a reasonable representation in the House of the People. Similarly, a party, to gain recognition as a State party, must also have, not only a reasonable following among the electors in the State, but also a reasonable presence in the Legislative Assembly of the State.

  3. Keeping all the above in view, the Commission has decided that henceforth a political party shall be eligible to be recognised as a National party if :-

(i)    it secures at least six percent(6%) of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general   election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly; and

(ii)    in addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States.


it wins at least two percent (2%) seats in the House o the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.

  1. Likewise, a political party shall be entitled to be recognised as a State party, if :-

(i)    it secures at least six percent (6%) of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned; and

(ii)    in addition, it wins at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.


it wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.



(K.J. RAO)