Looking ahead to the next Lok Sabha elections, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, who has met with several opposition leaders to build a united front against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2024, recently adopted his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) as Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
KCR formed the TRS on April 27, 2001 with a call for a separate state of Telangana. His dream was realized in 2014 when the Congress-led UPA government carved Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh. Since then, the KCR party has won elections in Telangana.
Since the KCR has officially decided after two decades to take the plunge onto the national stage, the path for the BRS to become a “national party” recognized by the Electoral Commission is not easy.
Here’s a look at what the EC rules say about a political party hoping to gain ‘national party’ status
The recognition of political parties as a state party or national party is governed by the provisions of Sections 6A and 6B of the Electoral Symbols (Reservation and Allocation) Orders 1968
How can a party obtain the status of a “national party”?
A political party can only be recognized as a national party if one of the following conditions is met:
- The party is recognized as a “state party” in at least four states.
- Party candidates running in elections in four or more states received at least 6% of the total valid votes cast in each of those states at the most recent convention and Lok Sabha elections. In addition, at least four of these candidates from one of these states should be elected to the Lok Sabha.
- The party won at least 2% of the total Lok Sabha seats in the last election, and the party’s candidates were elected to this House of Representatives from as many as three states.
National parties in India
The Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Nationalist Congress Party and National People’s Party are eight Parties recognized as a “national party” by the EC.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which governs Delhi and Punjab, is also on the way to becoming a national party. The AAP was formed in 2012 after the Jan Lokpal movement and was recognized as the state party in Goa following general elections earlier this year. Now the party led by Arvind Kejriwal needs recognition as a “state party” in another state in order to gain “national party” status. The party will contest parliamentary elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat later this year.
Why road ahead is difficult for BRS
Since its inception, the TRS has focused on Telangana’s troubles, with its leader KCR at the helm. The party has no cadre base in other states, an advantage national parties have in Lok Sabha elections. The BRS’s announcement of taking part in the 2024 Lok Sabha election appears to be a gamble, similar to what Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP did in 2014. With only two years of experience in electoral politics, the AAP contested for over 400 seats in the 2014 election and faced a humiliating defeat of just four seats.
The BRS has to work from scratch and prepare the ground within two years seems like a Herculean task. KCR’s Hindi language skills can prove useful in campaigns in the Hindi belt states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which together are sending 120 parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha. But apart from KCR, his party has no all-India leader.
After the renaming, KCR’s son and BRS leader KT Rama Rao noticed that Telugu films were doing well across India and wanted to know why a Telugu party or leader would not find acceptance when there is an intrinsic strength.
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