The results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections may determine whether the Aam Aadmi Party gets recognised as a national party in the immediate future. By most accounts, including the view of many AAP insiders, the party seems to have better prospects in Gujarat than Himachal Pradesh which seems to have retained its two-party nature.
So what's the 'required rate' for the AAP in Gujarat if it has to be recognised as a national party?
Here's What the Rules Say
A registered political party gets 'national party' status if it fulfills one of these three criteria:
Winning 2 percent of Lok Sabha seats from at least three different states.
At a general election to the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly, the party polls 6 percent of the valid votes in four or more states and in addition it wins four Lok Sabha seats.
The party gets recognition as a state party in four states.
Now, the AAP won one Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which also it lost in a bypoll in 2022. So the only option for it is the third criteria.
So When Does A Party Get 'State Party' Recognition?
It needs to fulfill one out of these conditions:
At least 6 percent votes and at least two seats in an Assembly election to a state.
At least 6 percent votes and one seat in a Lok Sabha election in a state.
At least three percent seats or at least three seats, whichever is more, in an Assembly election to the state.
At least one member out of every 25 members allocated to the state in the Lok Sabha.
At least 8 percent of the total valid votes in the state in an Assembly or Lok Sabha election.
The seats criteria have to be fulfilled in an election and cannot include defections that happen later.
The second and fourth criteria pertain to Lok Sabha elections so they aren't relevant in the context of the Assembly polls. So basically, AAP needs to fulfill one out of points 1,3 and 5. In the context of Gujarat it would be: at least six percent votes and two seats; or 6 seats and three percent votes; or at least 8 percent votes.
What Advantages Does Being a National Party Bring?
According to the Election Commission of India website, "A national party is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India. Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost and broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections".
Of course this is just the legal part. Becoming a national party and a national force are two different things. Presently, the CPI, CPI-M, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Nationalist Congress Party and National People's Party are also national parties besides the BJP and the Congress.
But many of them are far from being a national force like the BJP and Congress. To truly break into that space, AAP may need a much higher vote and seat share in Gujarat. We will discuss that closer to the results.