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PM Modi to take up electoral reforms issue at all-party meet

Pressing ahead with his electoral reforms agenda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to take up the issues of changes in poll funding rules and holding of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies at an all-party meeting before the Budget session.

A top BJP leader said Modi, who had broached the issue in such a meeting before the last session as well, wants to build a consensus due to the significance of the exercise. “The Prime Minister will call a meeting in this regard. We are in power and still pushing for reforms in poll funding. I do not think any party will be against it,” he told reporters.

Modi has been underlining the need for poll reforms time and again but the matter could not make any serious headway as the last session was washed out due to protests over demonetization. With key state assembly and local polls happening virtually every year, the Model Code of Conduct coupled with deployment of senior officers hits developmental programmes adversely, he has contended while pushing for simultaneous polls. The Election Commission has also sought reforms in poll funding and said the amount political parties are allowed to accept under anonymous donation should be reduced to Rs 2000 from existing Rs 20,000. It is alleged that parties use the provision to break large sum of money into multiples of Rs 20,000 to avoid scrutiny.

It has also sought powers from the government to deregister parties and to countermand polls where it has sufficient evidence to believe that money power was used to influence poll outcome.