Concerned over use of money and muscle power in elections, the government on Friday favoured far-reaching electoral reforms, setting aside petty party politics to cleanse the system and strengthen democracy.
Admitting the need of widespread electoral reforms in the wake of money and muscle power making inroads in Indian electioneering system, law minister Ashwani Kumar said in Rajya Sabha that concerted efforts were being made to bring in the necessary changes.
Replying to a debate on a private members' resolution seeking poll reforms and more transparency in political funding, moved by Bhupender Yadav (BJP), Kumar said some shortcomings have crept into the electoral process during the last few years mainly on account of "money and muscle power."
He, however, said government was serious in bringing reforms and the process has already been started to cleanse the system.
Enunciating steps in this regard, he said the issue was being debated since 1972 when a joint parliamentary committee was formed and later several committees were constituted.
After he assured the House of concrete steps, Yadav withdrew the resolution.
Earlier, supporting the resolution Gyan Prakash Pilania (BJP) said elections were being swayed by liquor and other temptations and a tradition was being set in which traders, businessmen and others were entering the portals of Parliament through money-power.
Opposing funding by corporate houses, D Bandopadhyay (TMC) said, "Corporate funding of elections is something I abhor," and demanded state funding. He said Lok Sabha and Assembly elections should be held simultaneously.
Arvind Kumar Singh (SP) said voting should be made mandatory for citizens as hardly 30 to 40 per cent voters exercised their right of franchise.
Basawaraj Patil (BJP) advocated funding of elections by Election Commission.
Earlier, through his resolution, Yadav said the cap on political funding by corporate houses should be removed and along with it, "more transparency" should be ensured in its use by the parties.