Indian political parties are categorized into two main types: national level parties and state level parties.
If a political party is treated as a recognised political party in four or more States, it shall be known as a `National Party’ throughout the whole of India, but only so long as that political party continues to fulfill thereafter the conditions for recognition in four or more States on the results of any subsequent general election either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of any State.
If a political party is treated as a recognised political party in less than four States, it should be known as a `State Party’ in the State or States in which it is so recognised, but only so long as that political party continues to fulfill thereafter the conditions for recognition on the results of any subsequent general election to the House of the People or, as the case may be, to the Legislative Assembly of the State, in the said State or States.
These are political parties which, participate in different elections all over India. For example, Indian National Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and some other parties.
A political party that participate, in different elections and receive certain amount of votes or seats in a state might be recognized as a state party by the Election Commission. Recognition as a state party gives the party the possibility to reserve a particular election symbol in the concerned state. After the issue of allocation of election symbol to BSP when it was recognised as a National Party (both the BSP and AGP were using Elephant as their election symbol, when BSP got the national recognition AGP objected to allocation of Elephant symbol to BSP which legally could use it in Assam; as a compromise BSP uses elephant all over India except in Assam), now Election commission does not allocate the symbol reserved for a state party to other parties recognised even in different state. A party might be recognized in more than one state. A party recognized in four states is automatically recognized as a national party. For example Shiv Sena participates only in Maharashtra, Telegu Desam in Andhra Pradesh, Akali Dal in Punjab, Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) in Tamil Nadu and there are other such state parties.