The Election Commission on Friday said it had reduced the notice period for registering new political parties in the five poll-bound states from 30 to seven days in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Responding to the AAP’s allegation that the commission had changed rules at the BJP’s behest, the poll watchdog clarified that this had been done before also, during the elections in Bihar, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, which also had taken place after the pandemic hit.
“It has been brought to the notice of the commission that in view of prevailing restrictions on account of Covid-19, there was dislocation and delay in moving applications for registration, which in turn led to [a] delay in the registration as a political party. During [the] general election to legislative Assembly [elections] of Bihar, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal also, the commission [had] relaxed this notice period in view of [the] ongoing pandemic,” the commission said in a statement.
The commission explained that a party seeking registration was earlier required to apply within 30 days of forming the party. The applicant should publish the party’s proposed name in two national dailies and two local dailies on two days. Those having objections had to submit them within 30 days of the publication of the notice.
“Therefore, after considering all aspects of the matter, the commission has given a relaxation and reduced the notice period from 30 days to 7 days for parties who have published their public notice on or before 08.01.2022,” the statement said. “For all parties, including of those parties which have already published the public notice in less than 7 days prior to 08.01.2022, objections, if any, can be submitted latest by 5.30 PM on 21st January, 2022, or by the end of the originally provided 30 days’ period, whichever is earlier.”