May 9, 2019
As of April 2019, 2,293 political parties were registered in India, over 10 times the 210 parties registered in 1999. The recent boom has been fueled, in part, by the success of regional parties, like the Aam Aadmi Party (“common person’s party”), which launched in 2012 and currently runs Delhi.
Yet, across thousands of parties, only a few decide to take their campaigns beyond state elections, and run federally. And the Election Commission of India has found many of those 2,293 parties — 149 of which registered between February and March — to be inactive.
Contesting multiple states is expensive and it can be difficult to reach nationwide popularity without prior wins — wins gain parties privileges like dedicated polling symbols that help with recognition among low-literacy voters. Unrecognized parties must choose from standardized symbols.