BJP all for electoral reforms: Minister

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New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) Electoral reforms are a priority for the ruling BJP as these are needed to make India a superpower, Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Meghwal said here on Tuesday.

“Reforms in electoral practices are the BJP’s top priority and we are working towards it,” Meghwal said at a seminar on ‘Transparency in Political Funding’ organised by advocacy group Bharat Niti.

He also referred to a speech by Bhim Rao Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly, wherein he had championed universal franchise and paved the way for a democracy in independent India.

“He gave all Indians the voting right, irrespective of gender and class, saying elections will be celebrated as festivals in the country… (he said) India should lead other countries,” the Minister said.

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Former bureaucrat and ex-MLA Jaya Prakash Narayana, former Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath and BJP General Secretary Muralidhar Rao also addressed the seminar.

“The problem (of corruption in elections) is not legal; it’s systemic… we need to disincentivise money as a factor, which is used to garner votes,” Narayana said.

He emphasised that the debate on “transparency should not be perfunctory” and demanded one that is “unhurried and above parties”.

Sampath raised the issues bedeviling the commission for long, like power to de-register political parties, which it doesn’t have. The Commission has power only to register a political party.

He told the media that at least 25 per cent of these parties have never fought any election and most are mere fronts for laundering money for bigger parties.

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