If we ask you to hazard a guess as to how many political parties participated in the Lok Sabha elections of 2009, there is a big probability of your answer going well off the mark. As many as 363 political parties participated in the Yajna of democracy contesting 543 Lok Sabha seats in 2009 elections. Out of these 363, only seven were recognized as ‘National Parties’ by the Election Commission of India. These seven parties were (in alphabetical order): Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) – CPM, Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).From the remaining 356 parties, 34 parties were recognized as State parties and the remaining 322 were registered but unrecognized political parties.
The following graph brings out the number of national parties, state parties and registered parties (un-recognized) participated in general elections since 1952.