UP tops list with 767 unrecognised political parties

| | New Delhi
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UP tops list with 767 unrecognised political parties

Wednesday, 12 January 2022 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Mushrooming of unrecognised political parties may spoil the game plan of registered political parties in the Assembly polls in five States beginning February 10.

As many as 889 unrecognised political parties registered with the Election Commission (EC)  in the five States — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. 

With  767 unrecognised political parties , Uttar Pradesh is the top in the list, followed by 66 in Punjab, 37 in Uttarakhand, 10 in Goa and nine in Manipur. In India, a total of 2,858 political parties registered with the poll body. Of them, 2,796 or 97.83 per cent of registered political parties are unrecognized parties. Interestingly, the majority of them have not filed their audit reports to the EC so far.

According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR),  the annual audit reports of 10.69 percent or 82 out of 767 parties of Uttar Pradesh, 9.09 per cent or 6 out of 66 parties of Punjab and 5.41 per cent or 2 parties of 37 parties of Uttarakhand are available in the public domain.

Of the 2796 registered unrecognised parties, 270 have submitted their audit or contribution report for the year 2019-20. Of the 270, audit details of 40 parties are not available in the public domain. Interestingly,  there are some parties in this list which spent more than their income.

The Jan Raajya Party of UP declared the highest income of Rs 338.01 lakhs while the total expenditure declared by the party was Rs 332.16 lakhs in 2019-20.

Anarakshit Samaj Party and Apna Dal (Soneylal) of UP declared the second (Rs 157.68 lakhs) and the third highest income (Rs 76.05 lakhs) during this period.

Either newly registered parties or those which have not secured enough percentage of votes in Assembly or General Elections to become a state party or those which have never contested in elections since being registered are considered unrecognised parties.  

The number of registered unrecognised political parties has increased more than twice in the last 10 years.

From 1112 parties in 2010, the number has spiked to 2,301 in 2019 and now in 2021, the number rose to 2,858. It is important to note that the number of such parties increases disproportionately during the year of Parliamentary elections especially. Between 2018 and 2019, it increased by over 9.8% while between 2013 and 2014, it increased by 18 per cent.

The poll body has earlier proposed  to the Law Ministry that it should be empowered to act in cases where a political party may not have contested elections for years but may be enjoying income-tax exemption on donations, The last time the EC made a move in this direction was in 1999, when it put 200 parties on notice as they had not contested any elections for a while.

Of these, there are seven national-level parties, over 50 state parties and the remaining are unrecognised.

It is estimated that not more than 400-500 parties contest polls.

To be counted as a recognised, a political party should have got a minimum percentage of valid votes or certain number of seats in the state legislative assembly, or the Lok Sabha, during the last election.

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