Business Standard
Samreen Wani and Ishaan Gera

On Tuesday, the Election Commission (ECI) delisted 86  and declared 253 inactive. However, the problem of registered unrecognised  (RUPPs) may persist, as the country will add as many within the next three years.

In fact, 68 political parties have applied for registration in the last four months alone. A Business Standard analysis found that between 2017 and 2021, India added nearly 1,000 RUPPs—the number went up from 1 ,983 to 2,796.

The number of RUPPs has more than doubled from 1,308 in 2011.

"Since the introduction of the electoral bond scheme, the number of political parties is skyrocketing," Maj General Anil Verma (Retd), head of Association of Democratic Reforms, told Business Standard.

The problem is not more parties registering themselves as political units, but their low levels of compliance.

Under the Representation of People Act 1951, a political party is declared 'inactive' if it fails to respond to any letter/invoice delivered to it or if it does not contest an election either to the General Assembly of the state or the Parliament elections for six years.

This isn't the first time that the ECI has taken action against non-compliant parties. Back in 2016, the ECI had delisted 255 parties for being 'non-existent'.

" As per data available, till March 2021, out of 2700 unrecognised political parties, only 43 per cent contested state assembly/General elections... others exist to avail 100 per cent tax exemption and possibly convert black money into white; they may even act as a front for other national/state parties," said Maj General (Retd) Verma.

Although latest data on donations and funding is not available, ADR report highlights that the funding for RUPPs rose nearly three times from Rs 24.6 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 65.5 crore in 2018-19. The electoral bond scheme was notified in January 2018.

While there has been a 113.7 per cent jump in the number of such parties since 2011, there is limited information about their funding and donation activities in the public domain. Only a fraction of the RUPPs declared their income and filed audit reports.

For instance, in 2018, out of the 2,143 RUPPs, 85 or 4 per cent made the information about their donations public. In 2019, out of the 889 parties in the five states of Punjab, Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, analysed by ADR, 36 declared donations.

Unrecognised parties double in a decade

(Number of registered unrecognised political parties)


A RUPP is a registered party that is neither a National nor a State party and is yet to secure enough percentage of votes in parliament or state elections

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