The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The CPI(M) has replied to the notice issued by the Election Commission to it regarding its recognition as a national party. The Commission had asked the CPI(M) to show cause why the recognition of the CPI(M) as a national party may not be withdrawn under the provisions of the Elections Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968.
The CPI(M) in its reply sent on July 13, 2000 has made the following points:
1. The CPI(M) is the third largest party in both houses of parliament. It has 33 members in the Lok Sabha (drawn from five states) and 15 members in the Rajya Sabha (drawn from four states).
2. The CPI(M) is leading three state governments in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. Further, it has representatives in 12 state legislative assemblies.
3. The CPI(M) has argued that since the order was issued in 1968 setting out the criteria for recognition of a national party, many important changes have taken place in the last 32 years. No single party was able to get a majority in the last three general elections to the Lok Sabha and coalition governments have been formed at the Centre since 1996. The 1968 order needs modifications based on the present realities.
4. The CPI(M) has argued that there are several anomalies and defects in the criteria prescribed for a national party in the 1968 order. By this criteria a party which wins one seat in the legislative assembly of Pondicherry or two seats in the assemblies of smaller states like Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Meghalaya etc. can get recognition as a state party. If a party gets such recognition in four states it qualifies to be a national party even if that party has not a single member in the Lok Sabha. It is possible for a party to get 6 per cent of the aggregate vote at the national level or have a ratio of more than 1:25 elected members of the Lok Sabha and yet not be considered a national party while under the same criteria they would get recognition in individual states.
The CPI(M) is not only the third largest party but also has also more than the ratio of 1:25 members in the Lok Sabha. As a party it plays an important role in the political life of the country. Under these circumstances, the CPI(M) has requested the Election Commission not to withdraw its status as a national party and to make suitable modifications in the Election Symbols Order of 1968.