India has a multi-party system, where political parties are classified as national, state or regional level parties. The status of party is accorded by the Election Commission of India, and the same is reviewed occasionally. All parties are registered with the Election Commission.
A special and unique election symbol is given to every registered party by the Election Commission.
A party has to live up to at least one of the following qualifications to be recognised as a national party:
- It has to win a minimum of two per cent of the seats in the Lok Sabha from at least three different states.
- In General Elections, the party must manage to win six per cent of the votes and win at least four Lok Sabha seats as well.
- The party is recognised as a 'state level party' in four or more states.
A party has to live up to at least one of the following qualifications to be acknowledged as a state party.
- The party has to win at least three seats or three per cent of the seats in the state legislative Assembly.
- It has to win minimum one seat in the Lok Sabha for every 25 seats or any fraction allotted to that concerned state.
- In a particular election, the party has to bag at least six per cent of the total votes, and also win one Lok Sabha and two Assembly seats.
- The status of a state party can still be bestowed upon an entity even if it fails to win any seats in the Lok Sabha or the Assembly, if it manages to win at least eight per cent of the total votes cast in the entire state.