Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, which won 13 of the 288 assembly seats in Maharashtra, has been recognised as a state party and will be allotted a permanent election symbol. The party contested the October 13 polls using the Railway Engine, a temporary symbol allotted to it by the commission.
"As per our norms, a party, in order to be recognised as a state party, should win at least three per cent of the total number of seats in the House," said an EC official.
"The number of minimum seats needed by the MNS to be recognised as a state party was nine. As they have won 13 seats, they are eligible for that recognition," the official said.
The recognition follows the MNS complying with the conditions stipulated under the amended Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, after the assembly polls in Maharashtra.
A formal communication will be sent to the MNS soon, the official said. The MNS may be asked to choose from among the existing free symbols or design a new one, he said.
The MNS was set up by Raj Thackeray on March 9, 2006, after he quit uncle Bal Thackerary's Shiv Sena. Of the 143 seats it contested in the polls, the party won 13, including six in Mumbai.
As per Section 6-B of the Symbols Order, a political party, other than a national party, could get recognition as a state party if its candidates in the last Lok Sabha or assembly election secure six per cent or more of the total valid votes polled or if it wins at least three per cent of the total number of seats in the assembly.
MNS general secretary and newly-elected Member of Legislative Assembly from Mahim in central Mumbai Nitin Sardesai said, "We have not received any official communication from the EC but we are in touch with them."
On choosing a permanent symbol for the party, Sardesai said, "We will choose a suitable symbol for the party after the official confirmation."