Not happy with your politicians? Here's a step-by-step guide to launching your own political party

IBT Staff Reporter
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Are you not happy with either Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP nor Rahul Gandhi's Congress? Do you also hate to support regional parties and find Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party an opportunistic outfit? And amid all the negative feelings, do you still want to do something good for the country and need a platform?

Why not start your own political party? If you have some like-minded friends or family members, and feel politics is an effective way of doing things, there is no reason you should not form your political party. True, the onus and expenditures are immense if you have a political career but it is also true that unless the common man involves himself more with the country's political process, there is very little possibility of cleaning it up and see improvement in public life. The mere act of casting a vote doesn't make one politically aware.

Now, starting a political party might seem a difficult and chaotic procedure. Unlike many western countries where politics is the means, it seems almost an end in India. Hence, stakes are high. But to do some service to public life, there's always need for educated people with a connection with the ground to come forward. Here is a simplified guidance on how to launch a political party in India:

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Gather and organise individuals:

Even if not all of them are like-minded, it is important to gather individuals who are mature, serious and dedicated to a cause. They need to have skills in different domains so that the party has an efficient team as its pillar. It is important to keep sound people who are objective in their judgement in key positions and not those who only look for positions and power. This first step also requires a lot of hard work as you need to convince people about the efficacy of a political party. Not all will be willing from the word go. But therein lies the importance of a leadership. Division of responsibilities is also a key aspect.

Setting up a charter/constitution:

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This is another important step while setting up a political party. The founding members need to arrive at a consensus on issues they believe in, and people who would emerge as the main pillars of the party's identity. The charter/constitution will describe the party's visions, and the members need to back it to the hilt. Engage in brainstorming to encompass all your beliefs – personal, social and political. Only then can a party chart out comprehensive visions. Take help of experts to write the key document.

Decide on an identity symbol and setting up a social media wing:

The symbol is the face of a political party, and you should find a suitable one that gives an image about its vision. It is also important to create a website for your party along with marking a presence in the social media. In India, a party has to approach the Election Commission with an election symbol of its choice and the final decision is taken by the EC.

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Registering the party:

Registering the party you aspire to make it big is a mandatory step. In India, a new party has to be registered with the Election Commission (EC). Here are some things to know while registering a political party:

  1. A body which wants to be a political party and avail the provisions of Part IV-A of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951 (related to registration of political parties) needs to get registered with the EC.
  2. There are certain benefits of getting registered with the EC. The candidates fielded by a party registered with the election panel get preference regarding allotment of free symbols as compared to independent candidates. Also, a party registered with the EC can become a 'state party' or a 'national party' if it fulfils conditions prescribed by the EC in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968. Parties recognised as state or national parties require one proposer for filing nomination and can also get two sets of electoral rolls free besides broadcast facilities over Doordarshan or Akashvani during general elections.
  3. The application for registering a party has to be submitted to the secretary of the EC, Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi in the panel-prescribed proforma available at the EC's office, both in hard and soft copies. The application has to be sent to the secretary, EC, within 30 days of forming the party.

What you need to submit along with the application:

a) A demand draft of Rs 10,000 on account of processing fee drawn in favour of the EC's under secretary. This amount is non-refundable.

b) A copy mentioning the rules/regulations of the party containing specific provisions as required under sub-section (5) of Section 29A of the RPA, 1951 in the following terms: "---(name of the party) shall bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution of India as by law established, and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India". The above mandatory provision must be included in the text of party constitution/rules and regulations/memorandum itself as one of the Articles/clauses.

c) The copy of the party's rules/regulations or constitution has to be authenticated on each page by its chief. The seal of the signatory has also to be affixed.

d) An affidavit signed by the party's chief saying no member of the party holds a membership of any other party recognised by the EC. Also individual affidavits from at least 100 members of the party saying to the effect that he/she is not a member of any other party. The individuals need to be above 18.

Finally, the criteria for recognising a party in India:

State party: A party will be recognised as a state party if it has engaged in political activity continuously for five years and has returned at least one member to the House of the People for every 25 members of that House or at least one member to the Legislative Assembly of that state for every 30 members. The recognition will also come if the total number of valid votes polled by all the candidates fielded by such party in the last general or Assembly election in the state is not less six percent of the total number of valid votes polled by all contestants. Delhi and Puducherry are also considered states during elections.

National party: A party will be considered a national party if it is recognised as a political party in four or more states in the Indian Union. But it has to continue to fulfil the conditions for recognition in four or more states following the subsequent general election either to Lok Sabha or the Assembly of any state. A party recognised in less than four states will remain a state party.

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