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Assembly elections last chance for INLD to retain party tag, election symbol

Assembly elections last chance for INLD to retain party tag, election symbol

Om Prakash Chautala



Tribune News Service

Pradeep Sharma

Chandigarh, June 6

The 2024 Assembly elections will be the last chance for the INLD, the grand old party of Haryana led by former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala, to retain its recognition as the state party and election symbol.

At the receiving end of the dismal performance in parliamentary and state Assembly elections since 2019, the INLD will have to fulfil the norms under the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968, in the 2024 Assembly elections, failing which it would risk derecognition from the Election Commission.

Under the Order, the party to be recognised as the state party “must return at least one member to the House of the People for every 25 members or any fraction thereof allotted to that state”.

Alternatively, the candidates put up by the party must have secured not less than 8 per cent of the total valid votes polled in the state in the last state Assembly. Besides, candidates of a party securing not less than 6 per cent of the total valid votes polled with at least two elected MLAs can also be considered as a condition for recognition as the state party.

The party securing 3 per cent of the total number of seats or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more, is also recognised as the state party and allotted a permanent election symbol.

The INLD did not fulfil any of the above conditions in the 2019 Assembly and parliamentary elections and 2024 Lok Sabha poll. The party secured 1.9% and 2.44% votes in the parliamentary and Assembly elections, respectively, in 2019. In the recently concluded parliamentary elections, the party polled 1.74 per cent votes.

However, an amendment to the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, in 2016 provided relief to the INLD. The amendment allowed a political party to retain the ‘state party’ or ‘national party’ tag even after it loses eligibility in the next Lok Sabha or state Assembly elections.

However, if the party fails to regain eligibility in the subsequent election to the state Assembly or the Lok Sabha, then it will lose its status of the state or national party. The INLD currently falls in this category.

Ram Narain Yadav, a former additional secretary of the Haryana Vidhan Sabha, confirmed that the amendment had come to the rescue of the INLD. “The INLD will have fulfil the statutory conditions for recognition as the state party in the 2024 Assembly elections, failing which the Election Commission may start the derecognition process,” Yadav added.

Glorious past, uncertain future

The INLD, earlier known as Haryana Lok Dal (Rashtriya), was recognised as the state party after the 1998 parliamentary elections when it won four Lok Sabha seats. However, in the 2024 Assembly elections, the party will have to fulfil statutory Election Commission norms to retain the state party tag and save its reserved party symbol.

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