Political parties in India are classified by the Election Commission for the allocation of symbols. The Commission classifies parties into three main heads: National Parties, State Parties, and Registered (unrecognized) Parties.
The Election Commission grants political parties the status of national parties on three grounds:
- It should be a recognized political party in four or more states.
- It should have won at least 4 percent of the seats in the last Lok Sabha elections or 3.33 percent of the seats in the assembly elections from the state.
- All the candidates put by the party should have polled at least 6 percent of the total valid votes in the elections.
- The National Political Parties have areas of influence extending over the entire country. Since the last general elections held in 2009, the recognized national political parties in India are the Indian National Congress (INC), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India, Marxists (CPI-M), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
- The Regional Political Parties, as recognized by the Election Commission, are those political parties that receive a certain amount of votes or seats in a State. The Election Commission grants election symbols to the political parties and the candidates who contest elections. The number of regional political parties in the country is fairly large. Some of the leading regional political parties in India include Trinamool Congress (West Bengal), Assam Gana Parishad (Assam), All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Tamil Nadu) Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry), National Conference (Jammu and Kashmir), Samajwadi Party (Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand), Shiromani Akali Dal (Punjab), Shiv Sena (Maharashtra), Telugu Desam (Andhra Pradesh).
Also read: Functions And Role Of Political Parties